Five Smooth Stones (Paperback)

A Novel (Rediscovered Classics)

By Ann Fairbairn

Chicago Review Press, 9781556528156, 768pp.

Publication Date: April 1, 2009

List Price: 21.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.


This gripping bestseller, first published in 1966, has continued to captivate readers with its wide-ranging yet intimate portrait of an America sundered by racial conflict. David Champlin is a black man born into poverty in Depression-era New Orleans who makes his way up the ladder of success, only to sacrifice everything to lead his people in the civil rights movement. Sara Kent is the white girl who loves David from the moment she first sees him, and who struggles against his belief that a marriage for them would be wrong in the violent world he has to confront. And the “five smooth stones” are those the biblical David carried against Goliath. By the time this novel comes to its climax of horror, bloodshed, and hope, readers will be convinced that its enduring popularity is fully justified.

About the Author

Ann Fairbairn was best known for Five Smooth Stones, but also published two other books: a biography of New Orleans jazz clarinetist George Lewis, whose tours she managed, and a 1970 novel, That Man Cartwright. She lived for many years in New Orleans and died in Monterey, California, in 1972.

Praise For Five Smooth Stones: A Novel (Rediscovered Classics)

"A courageous novel . . . David is a marvelously well-done character."  —Library Journal

“A long and richly realized novel . . . Ann Fairbairn renders her scenes so skillfully and reveals her hero so fully that [his] qualities are transformed from desirable abstractions to a memorable identity. . . The numerous people characterized so clearly in this novel are ‘mortal humans.’ That is rare enough in any fiction dealing with one of the bone-deep issues of our time.” —The New York Times Book Review

"No matter how large Ann Fairbairn’s audience is, it won’t be large enough . . . Technically Miss Fairbairn is flawless . . . David Champlin is a great tragic hero in a memorable story."  —Denver Post

“Every so often along comes the big book that defies categorization . . . It has real size, stature . . . Above all, it rings true . . . You may put it down, but you can’t forget it. You have to come back. Such is the case with Five Smooth Stones.  —Springfield Daily News