Redwood and Wildfire is a novel of what might have been. At the turn of the 20th century, minstrel shows transform into vaudeville, which slides into moving pictures. Hunkering together in dark theatres, diverse audiences marvel at flickering images. This “dreaming in public” becomes common culture and part of what transforms immigrants and “native” born into Americans. Redwood, an African American woman, and Aidan, a Seminole Irish man, journey from Georgia to Chicago, from haunted swampland to a “city of the future.” Gifted performers and hoodoo conjurors, they struggle to call up the wondrous world they imagine, not just on stage and screen, but on city streets, in front parlours, in wounded hearts. The power of hoodoo is the power of the community that believes in its capacities to heal and determine the course of today and tomorrow. Living in a system stacked against them, Redwood and Aidan’s power and talent are torment and joy. Their search for a place to be who they want to be is an exhilarating, painful, magical adventure. Blues singers, filmmakers, haints, healers.
Redwood and Wildfire has been reviewed by Carol Cooper for The Village Voice. "Redwood and Wildfire," Cooper writes, "works as an allegory for all paradigm-shifting artistic innovation, even though it mostly reads as the love story of two people who struggle to invoke the free, interracial paradise that already exists in their hearts."
Advance praise comes from Nisi Shawl, Nancy Kress, and Pearl Cleage:
“Redwood and Wildfire moved me, excited me, involved me deeply in the lives of people I wanted so actively to follow and learn more about. Andrea Hairston’s lush prose perfectly suits the story she tells here of dreamers who travel far on the strength of their dreams: across continents, back and forth through time, and at one point literally out of this world. Drawing on inheritances rooted in lands of myth, Aidan and Sequoia gift one another with a love as generous as freedom as they struggle alongside other, equally interesting characters to manifest the deep abundance that is rightfully theirs. This book is an affirmation of the power of joy to transform the world, and reading it will make you sing like a bird while wishing for wings with which to fly.”—Nisi Shawl, author of Filter House
“Redwood and Wildfire is richly epic, moving from Georgia swamps to Chicago theaters, giving us conjure women and actors and haints and businessmen, acts of horrific cruelty and of wild courage. But it is also an intimate love story of two people groping toward each other when no one else in the entire world thinks they should be together. Told in a fresh voice, Redwood and Aidan's story will move you in ways you don't expect, even as it offers glimpses of that magical world lying behind this one.”— Nancy Kress, author of Nano Comes to Clifford Falls and Probability Moon
"Andrea Hairston's writing has the capacity to take you places you had no idea you even wanted to go until she drops you down where you least expected and invites you to make yourself at home. Redwood and Wildfire carries us along on an amazing journey of struggle and spirit, love and loss, its wisdom ultimately coming from Hairston's extraordinary ability to illuminate the mysterious power that only comes with surrender to the things we know, but can't always see. For her long time admirers, this is the book we've been waiting for her to write. For those just discovering her work, welcome to a brand new world. Andrea Hairston has been waiting for you."
—Pearl Cleage, What Looks Like Crazy On An Ordinary Day and
Baby Brother's Blues
Baby Brother's Blues
Aqueduct will be offering a discount on Redwood and Wildfire on all purchases made through our site through March 15.