Bennett brings an African-American community to vivid life with strong and compelling characters.
This powerful new novel by O.H. Bennett tells the story of a makeshift family struggling to stay together as life wears away at their bonds of blood and love. At the center of the family is Gail Neighbors, the hardworking single mother of two sons, Mason and Tyler. Mason, the older, grew up without knowing his father, Pony Reed, a feckless gambler and womanizer. Tyler, the younger, sings in the church choir and enjoys a close relationship with his father, Dan, who left Gail a few years before but still spends plenty of time at the house. To make ends meet, Gail has taken in two boarders: Annie, an elderly woman with a diminishing grip on reality, and Jackie, the twenty-year-old single mother of baby Cole, who can't fully accept her overwhelming new responsibilities.
In young Mason Reed, Bennett has created a heartbreaking portrait of a goodhearted teenager for whom nothing seems to go right, and who as a result slips closer and closer to real danger. Despite his affectionate relationship with his stepfather, Mason feels like the outsider in his home, and when Dan and Gail parted, he blamed himself. His brief, charged encounter with his long-absent father throws him into a tailspin, and he ultimately ends up leaving home in an effort to travel cross-country to the city where Pony lives, and force a confrontation.
On the road, Mason ends up redirected by his encounter with Gina, whose boyfriend Tully is paralyzed from the waist down; with Gina, Mason finds an emotional intimacy he's never experienced before, which helps him combat his fear that he'll end up like his father. Gail becomes so caught up in her spiritual restlessness and her worries about the absent Mason that she doesn't notice Dan's growing interest in rekindling their relationship.
Meanwhile, Jackie tries desperately to reunite with her baby's father, a wealthy white boy who proves uninterested in helping to care for their son. Ultimately, the father's parents announce their willingness to adopt Cole, but in aiding Cole and Jackie, Gail finds a chance to redeem a heartrending decision that she'd been forced to make 25 years ago, and which has haunted her ever since.
Creatures Here Below shows the critically acclaimed Bennett working at a new level of accomplishment, and calls to mind Edward P. Jones's Lost in the City and All Aunt Hagar's Children.
Title Creatures Here Below
Edition First Edition
Author O.H. Bennett
Title First Published 17 October 2011
Nb of pages 272 p.
Publication Date 17 October 2011
Nb of pages 272
Dimensions 6 x 9 in.
Weight 15 oz.
List Price $15.00
Nb of pages
GTIN13 (EAN13) 9781572846876
Reference no. 978-1-57284-687-6
Publication Date 17 October 2011
List Price $9.99
Omarey Williams, host of The African-American Profile on Rowan Radio WGLS-FM, speaks with O.H. Bennett, author of Creatures Here Below. (Sept. 28, 2011)
Free download (PDF) ( pdf 3.24 MB )Free PDF download of Creatures Here Below
Creatures Here Below presskit ( pdf 143 KB )
The Nervous Breakdown
Jun 13, 2012
Without glorifying, minimizing, or pandering, Creatures chronicles cycles of violence and abandonment, fight or flight, taking patient survey of the survival instincts and socioeconomic- Nathan Huffstutter
Aug 8, 2011
In his third novel, Bennett brings an African-American community to vivid life with strong and compelling characters and narrative themes to match—growing up, the struggles of parenthood and
...author O.H. Bennett grabs his readers by the hand and leads them through a house of miscommunication where everybody thinks too much and talks too little...Bennett's characters become likeable in their frailties and failures, and the back-and-forth ripens into a welcome addition.- Terri Schlichenmeyer
Grab this book...you'll be rewarded by a bold story. In the end, "Creatures Here Below" is a novel you'll be talking about.
Midwest Book Review
Jan 1, 2012
May 29, 2012
An accomplished and compelling novel...The characters are layered and complex and relationships are beautifully interwoven. They offer hope in spite of broken dreams, and redemption.- Martin Macaulay
Reader comment | Dec 12, 2011, Ramonia Alfred
Just finished reading Creatures Here Below. Could not put it down. But I fell I need more. I may be being greedy..., but it left me wanting more.