Rhett Butler's People
The cover of the hardcover edition
|Genre||Historical novel, Romance|
|Publisher||St. Martin's Press|
|November 2007 (hardcover)|
|ISBN||ISBN 0312262515 (hardcover)|
|Preceded by||Gone with the Wind|
Fully authorized by the Margaret Mitchell estate, Rhett Butler’s People is a novel that parallels Gone with the Wind from Rhett Butler's perspective. The book was unveiled on November 3, 2007 after several years of setbacks and two previous authors. Both Emma Tennant and Pat Conroy had been previously commissioned by the estate to produce the book.
McCaig chooses to disregard the novel Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley. He does not acknowledge its existence in the canon of Gone with the Wind nor does his novel incorporate any of its characters. McCaig's impression is that the Margaret Mitchell estate was "thoroughly embarrassed" by Ripley's novel. The book attempts to present a semi-journalistic view of the life and times of Rhett Butler, while remaining faithful to the original Mitchell work. The Rhett-Scarlett love-story is downplayed in the book.
The novel begins with a duel which is mentioned in Gone with the Wind. This is the reason that Rhett is not received in Charleston. Eventually the novel flashes back to when Rhett is twelve. It continues through the time until Gone with the Wind and retells the story. The story is not completely from Rhett's perspective. It proceeds to tell other moments from the time during the original story and then proceeds to add a new ending to the story. The book only goes a short ways past the timeline of Gone with the Wind (unlike the sequel Scarlett, which travels several years further).
|This section requires expansion. (November 2008)|
The Daily Telegraph described McCaig's Butler as "touchy-feely". In The New York Times, Stephen Carter noted that the character of Rhett Butler was made into a more human, flawed person than either Mitchell or Ripley portrayed him to be. However, he stated that the novel transformed Rhett from the man of mystery that drew readers to him into "a version of the angst-ridden, on-the-make, love-struck antihero of modern fiction: Rhett Butler as channeled by Rabbit Angstrom [of Rabbit, Run] or T. S. Garp [of The World According to Garp]." He then wondered if such a Rhett was one wanted by readers.
- "Second 'Gone with the Wind' sequel ready". Yahoo News. October 28, 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-10-30. Retrieved 2007-10-29.
- Rich, Motoko (May 16, 2007). "Rhett, Scarlett and Friends Prepare for Yet Another Encore". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-10-28.
- Patrick, Bethanne (November 7, 2007). "Gone but Not Forgotten: Rhett Butler's People". The Washington Post. pp. C08.
- Whitworth, Melissa (November 20, 2007). "Fiction: This Rhett Butler does give a damn". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2010-02-03.
- Carter, Stephen L. (November 4, 2007). "Almost a Gentleman". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-02-03.
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