Tommy Lee Tyson

Twenty-eight-year-old Tommy Lee Tyson steps off the Greyhound bus in his hometown of Swamp Creek, Arkansas—a place he left when he was eighteen, vowing never to return. Yet fate and a Ph.D. in black studies force him back to his rural origins as he seeks to understand himself and the black community that produced him. They Tell Me of a Home and its sequel, Twelve Gates to the City, send TL Tyson on a journey of self-discovery and spiritual revelation.

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Twelve Gates to the City
Twelve Gates to the City
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A novel of self-discovery, family bonds and the healing of one small southern town

Twelve Gates to the City is the much-anticipated sequel to Black’s acclaimed debut, They Tell Me of a Home. In this novel, Sister assumes the voice of the narrator, speaking from the spirit realm, telling her brother TL things he could have never known about their family. She constructs the story as a series of spiritual revelations, exposing to readers both who she was in the years of TL’s absence and how every event in his life was an orchestration for his return.

TL in the meantime is back in Swamp Creek, to stay this time, but he’s still haunted by his sister’s death. His decision to become the Schoolmaster is the only thing he’s sure about, and his impact upon the students becomes palpable. But he still doesn’t know what happened to Sister. As he searches for ultimate truth, he discovers the secrets and beauty of Swamp Creek.

Twelve Gates to the City is a novel about spiritual revelation, and communal healing, ushered in by one who finally realizes that his gifts were bestowed upon him, not for his own glory, but for the transformation of his people.

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Tommy Lee Tyson (Volume 2)

Daniel Black

St. Martin's Press

A novel of self-discovery, family bonds and the healing of one small southern townTwelve Gates to the City is the much-anticipated sequel to Black’s...

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They Tell Me of a Home
They Tell Me of a Home
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Twenty-eight-year-old protagonist Tommy Lee Tyson steps off the Greyhound bus in his hometown of Swamp Creek, Arkansas--a place he left when he was eighteen, vowing never to return. Yet fate and a Ph.D. in black studies force him back to his rural origins as he seeks to understand himself and the black community that produced him. A cold, nonchalant father and an emotionally indifferent mother make his return, after a ten-year hiatus, practically unbearable, and the discovery of his baby sister's death and her burial in the backyard almost consumes him. His mother watches his agony when he discovers his sister's tombstone, but neither she nor other family members is willing to disclose the secret of her death. Only after being prodded incessantly does his older brother, Willie James, relent and provide Tommy Lee with enough knowledge to figure out exactly what happened and why. Meanwhile, Tommy's seventy-year-old teacher--lying on her deathbed--asks him to remain in Swamp Creek and assume her position as the headmaster of the one-room schoolhouse. He refuses vehemently and she dies having bequeathed him her five thousand-book collection in the hopes that he will change his mind. Over the course of a one-week visit, riddled with tension, heartache, and revelation, Tommy Lee Tyson discovers truths about his family, his community, and his undeniable connection to rural Southern black folk and their ways.


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Tommy Lee Tyson (Volume 1)

Daniel Black

St. Martin's Press

Twenty-eight-year-old protagonist Tommy Lee Tyson steps off the Greyhound bus in his hometown of Swamp Creek, Arkansas--a place he left when he was eighteen, vowing never to return. Yet fate and...

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