About the BookThe novel Holiday is a compelling account of a southern lynching in which the simmering sexual and religious fervor and the violent act to which they inexorably lead are depicted in a modernist, experimental style.
Although Holiday was promoted alongside Harlem Renaissance works, Waldo Frank was not a natural fit for the New Negro movement. Born into an upper-middle-class Jewish family in New Jersey and educated at Yale, Frank traveled around the South in 1922 with his friend, the Harlem Renaissance writer Jean Toomer, collecting observations for what was to become Holiday.
The events of the novel take place on a single day in the southern town of Nazareth, a day so punishingly hot that Virginia Hade gives her father's black workers a holiday from work at the request of the black overseer, John Cloud. Meanwhile, a Revival tent is set up in the town, and a wave of religious passion spreads among the townsfolk, culminating in the novel's final, brutal act.