Frontlist | ‘The Rib King’: A meaty novel about ambition, race and revenge

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Ladee Hubbard’s sophomore novel, The Rib King, is a fascinating story about the intersection of ambition, race, and revenge. The book opens in 1914 in a mythic Northern city reminiscent of Chicago and follows the fortunes of the Black servants for the white Barclay family. The first section is narrated by Mr. Sitwell, a longtime groundskeeper and newly minted butler for the Barclays who later becomes the face of a popular meat sauce. Sitwell’s decision to settle scores after reading a fictional account of the events that orphaned him and jettisoned him from his beloved rural Florida community at just 12 years old sets the rest of the book’s events into motion.

The Rib King upends the racial calculus that amplifies the stories of the privileged few, offering rich, lovingly rendered portraits of working-class Black people. Hubbard’s work underscores the legendary Toni Morrison’s words in the New Yorker: “You are not the work you do; you are the person you are.”

 

 

Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer

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