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Fifth Born

A Novel

Zelda Lockhart


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When Odessa Blackburn is three years old her beloved grandmother dies, and so begins her story, set in St. Louis,Missouri, and rural Mississippi. As the Þfth born of eight children, Odessa loses her innocence at Þrst when her drunken father sexually abuses her, and then again when she alone witnesses her father taking the life of his own brother.
Fifth Born is Zelda Lockhart's debut novel, lyrically written and powerful in its exploration of how secrets can tear apart lives and families. It is a story of love, longing, and redemption, as Odessa walks away from those whom she believes to be her kin to discover the true meaning of family.

Praise For Fifth Born: A Novel

O Magazine Lockhart's mastery of sensory detail -- the tastes, smells, sounds, and sights of Odessa's world -- roots us moment to moment in the hardscrabble life of this transcendent tale.

Essence A touching story told with incredible grace and subtlety.

The San Francisco Chronicle The language in [Fifth Born] is eloquent, the writing style poetic and the use of African American dialogue masterful.

Kirkus Reviews A poetic debut....An impressively mature piece of work.

Robin D. Stone With compassion, wit and grace, Zelda Lockhart gives us a new heroine: Odessa -- forgotten, betrayed, wounded in body but strong in spirit that keeps us rooting for her 'til the sweet, sweet end.

Washington Square Press, 9780743412667, 224pp.

Publication Date: August 19, 2003

About the Author

Zelda Lockhart¹s poetry, Þction, and essays have appeared in such publications as WordWrights, Sojourner, Calyx, Sinister Wisdom and She received her B.A. from Norfolk State University and her M.A. in Literature from Old Dominion University. She lives in Ithaca, New York.