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Maya Angelou's "A Song Flung Up to Heaven"

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating


A Song Flung Up to Heaven

"A Song Flung Up to Heaven"

Random House

The Bottom Line

Angelou won a Grammy for the narration of the audio book in 2003. This is the last of Angelou's 6 autobiographical works and it is almost as good as the first ("I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings").
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  • Rich prose
  • Angelou has a strong narrative voice
  • Inspiring life of an inspiring woman


  • Not as good as previous works
  • Gets a bit hallmarky


  • This volume starts with the assassination of Malcolm X on February 21, 1965.
  • "As if a man lived, a man loved, a man tried, a man died and that was all there was to that."
  • Angelou also experienced the 1965 Watts Riots and writes about them with her unique perspective.
  • "Odor travels faster and farther than sound. We smelled the conflagration before we heard it"
  • In this volume as in previous volumes, Angelou struggles to find happiness amidst tragedy.
  • She also struggles to find her place in the world and find success in one of her many "careers."
  • She writes about her experiences after the assassination of Dr. King, who was a friend of hers.
  • She speaks with a smooth Southern drawl and her narration really brings her rich metaphors to life.
  • Angelou shares interesting information, reflection and hope for the Civil Rights movement in the US.
  • It is the events in this volume that inspired her to become a writer.

Guide Review - Maya Angelou's "A Song Flung Up to Heaven"

She begins with a return home from Africa to work alongside Malcolm X. She shortly learns of his assassination and begins her journey through the violent terrain of the civil rights movement in America. The volume ends shortly after she tells Martin Luther King that she will work with him "After my birthday, April 4th"(the date of his assassination). Her life is filled with tragedy but she keeps her spirits high with the help of her family and friends. Reading this volume(or the whole collection), you can see a circularity to her life. She relates the amazing things she has experienced to the world as a whole in this fashion. The last line of this volume is the first line of the first : "What you looking at me for. I didn't come to stay."
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