Picks and Pans Review: The Wind Done Gone
Margaret Mitchell's estate tried to do to this clever parody of Gone With the Wind what Sherman did to Atlanta. But Randall won a court battle over alleged copyright infringement, turning her first novel into one of the most talked-about books of the year—and making fools of those who bid more than $400 for advance copies on eBay.
Randall loved Mitchell's 1936 book, but wondered: What about the slaves? Believing the original story racist, Randall retells it through the eyes of a new character, Scarlett O'Hara's mulatto half sister Cynara, an ex-slave. Cynara is fiercely jealous of Scarlett (here renamed Other), but this time Rhett (now simply R) dumps Other for Cynara. "He was the prize, and I wanted the prize to feel and know, taste and see that I could win it," Cynara writes.
Frankly, m'dear, the concept is fascinating. But the book's first half is as slow as a southern summer afternoon. And the novel is full of stereotypes: All the white characters are stupid or weak. "Garlic [a slave] pulled the string and Planter [his master] danced like a bandy-legged Irish marionette," Randall writes. But a lyrical style and intriguing reflections on race make this rewrite deserving as well as daring. (Houghton Mifflin, $22)
Bottom Line: The author done good