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On Sale: March 19, 2002
Pages: 0 | ISBN: 978-0-345-45501-7
Published by : Ballantine Books Ballantine Group
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Carey McCullough is haunted by a recurring dream and a damaged past. But the more he tries to forget, the more uprooted he feels. Then, while in Jamaica, he crosses paths with a radiant woman who attracts him like a flame. Their undeniable attraction is much more than chemistry. As Carey soon discovers from a “reader” of the spirit world, he and Frances share a history that has linked their souls for more than four hundred years. Though Carey views past lives with skepticism, he cannot explain knowing the language of an ancient African people—in particular the phrase: “Mulewe anekoso kuduwe bana” (“I will search until I find you”).

Yet Frances conceals secrets of her own, with devastating consequences. And while Carey visits his best friend, a bond that was once thought to be unbreakable will be put to the ultimate test as startling truths at last emerge. . . .



Up ahead a herd of cattle toddle down a path. They moo and jostle as they splash into the ocher river, triggering the flowers on a tree festooned with Spanish moss to burst into a spray of screeching birds.

In theory this is stunning. But in Jamaica, an island that produces elemental drama daily, no one stops to look. Not the women spreading clothes on white boulders. Not the naked children swinging out on leafy vines. Not the men in trunks and soccer shorts who wade upstream, waist deep, empty bamboo rafts in tow, hunched against the current, delivering the vessels to the starting point for tips.

Fifteen feet away from us the captain of our raft is punting with a slender pole. The braided muscles in his back are coiling. His navy polo shirt is snug. Water tongues the grooves between the knuckled stems that form the hull. In essence we are sailing on a fence.

People are watching me. Waiting. A bead of perspiration stretches from my beard and bursts against my shirt.

Then as the captain steers around a bar of silt I find a question.

“Okay, Chadwick, on the night before you’re set to go to the gallows you get a set of choices. A last book. A last song. A last meal with any writer living or dead. And the chance to sleep with anyone in the whole wide world—a living anyone, of course.”

The producer on the raft beside us smiles and makes a fist. This is how she told me that she wants the show to be—arch and energetic.

I am a guest on Trapped in Transit, a travel show on A&E.

Each week on TIT, as all the members of the crew appear to call it, an odd couple chosen from the worlds of politics and entertainment take a journey: Howard Stern and Yasir Arafat canoeing in Mongolia. Martha Stewart and Biz Markie on a llama in Peru.

Chadwick is a congressman. If his reparations bill is passed, every black American will receive a million dollars in exchange for relocation to Liberia.

I’m a playwright and director whose grandfather moved to Harlem from West Africa in the twenties. Chadwick is fifty. I am thirty-eight. Chadwick is married. I will never be. He is a Republican. I like to call myself a negro. He is bald. My locks are wrapped around my head to form a turban.

His freckled cheeks are settling into jowls. His nose is sharp and owlish. He does not have an upper lip. His forehead lasts forever.

“I think I’d have a rack of lamb,” he answers. “And it is always hard for me to sleep without my wife. My favorite book has always been Heart of Darkness. Conrad is amazing. You should read him. I would dine with Rudy Kipling. As a boy in Oklahoma I felt connected to his stories . . . all the Indians. I know that our natives aren’t the same as Kipling’s Hindus, but I could still relate. As far as music is concerned I think I’d listen to Aretha Franklin. And you—you asked the question. What would you do?”

I glance at the producer, a desert-colored woman with a se- cret trail of bites along her neck and stomach. Her name is Amaranta.

Smiling as she looks away, she scoops her copper hair into a ponytail. When she looks again I recognize the contour of her body in her nose. Like her back, it arches inward on a bony spine then flares into a bulb of spongy flesh.

The diamonds on her wedding ring are glinting. Her cheeks are hard and chiseled like the stones. But as a woman she is soft. Her skin. Her voice. Her touch.

Last night, as she read to me in bed, I told her that her skin reminded me of sand. She drew her nipple on my chest and said I was her Tuareg . . . the way I wrap my dreadlocks like a turban, the oily blackness of my skin, the height of what she calls my Libyan nose. She held me by my cheekbones when she kissed me. She christened them my little horns.

“Ride all over me,” she whispered. “Find water.”

Chadwick leans toward me.

“On my final night on earth I would experiment with pork.”

“You would cook it in a whole new way?”

“More than that. I’ve never had it. My father was a member of the Nation of Islam. My mother is a Jew.”

“So you’re mixed,” he says appraisingly. His voice is engaged but impersonal, as if I were a piece of art. “I would not have known.”

“And now you do. What does that mean?”

“Well . . . nothing.”

“So why did you ask? What does it mean in terms of reparations? Do I get less for being a diluted brother or do I get a little extra for the Holocaust?”

“And what would be your book?” he asks me after we have sailed a mile in silence.

“I would read the Book of Psalms. I’d listen to “Redemption Song” and some fish and bread with my closest friend Kwabena Small, the best playwright I know.”

“And what would be the other choice? The woman?”

I burrow through the crates that line the basement of my mind and mount a retrospective of my lovers. It’s an exhibit of ambitious scope. The catalog is thicker than a phone book. I can’t decide. But I know that I have loved them all . . . at some time . . . in some way . . . with some degree of faithfulness and truth.

We argue politics until we disembark at Rafter’s Rest, a restaurant and bar that occupies what used to be a rambling house: white walls, soft arches, slim columns.

Just beyond the restaurant the river broadens as it sweeps into the sea.

A buffet lunch is laid out on the covered esplanade: jerk chicken, curried conch, pasta salad and escoveitched fish . . . fried snappers marinated in a habanero vinaigrette.

On the opposing bank, old trees with silver trunks and thick uplifted roots like rocket fins are soaring to the sky.

I sit alone. I cannot eat. My mind is exhausted. I keep returning to the question. Who would the woman be?

I go outside to think inside the minivan. If I had driven on my own I would leave.

The Isuzu is parked in a ring of vans beneath a poinciana tree aflame with red blossoms. The drivers are clotted in ragged groups, playing cards, chewing cane and smoking—from the odor, more than cigarettes.

Resurfacing the driveway is a gang of men who’ve clearly learnt the art of pouring asphalt by telepathy.

Everything is slow, and then a whistle rifles from the road. Suddenly everything is frantic. Men begin to dig and mix and roll and cart, while splashing their bodies with beer, brewing perspiration.

A mud-encrusted pickup trundles through the gate. It stops abruptly and a female voice demands a work report. From the driver’s side a bangled hand slides through the open window. The hand unrolls a fist and fans the foreman forward. He dips his head inside the cab. There is a sharp exchange and then he straightens up, a little softer in his posture, and watches as the Ford begins to roll toward me, the driver searching for a radius of shade.

As she walks toward the restaurant, the woman with the bangles stops and reaches in a tote bag for a telephone. She is tall, with dreadlocks braided in a fat chignon. She is calling someone whom she knows quite well, for she dials without looking.

“Don’t fret, I’ll soon be there,” she says with a mischievously guilty laugh.

“But there is no story,” she emphasizes. “Same story. Didn’t I tell you that I don’t want no lover till the right one comes? Anyway. I have to go and brutalize these lazy men that work for me.” She begins to walk, then stops again. “Mind your business. There is no story to tell, I said. A lover would only distract me now.”

That night I meet my lover at a lodge up in the mountains. I am staying at a hotel on the beach.

“Sleeping in your bed last night was absolutely careless,” Amaranta mutters as she cracks the door. “And all these marks you left on me. What am I going to tell my husband?”

The room is long and narrow. At the other end, beyond the double bed, the drapes are flung apart. Through the sliding door come mist and chill and insect sounds, the smell of grass and pine.

A kerosene lamp is seeping amber light into the grooves between the planks that form the wooden walls. We are stand- ing by the dresser. I hold her from behind, resting my chin on her head.

Her short nightgown is blue. She smells of ginger oil and citrus . . . maybe tangerine.

Watching our reflection in the mirror, I reach beneath her nightgown and my fingers find the ripples in her stomach. As the hem begins to flounce I see the creamy smoothness of her thighs, the hint of twitching muscle, the mole below the crescent of her panty wax; there, the skin is dusky rose and prickly.

As I stroke her there she arcs her back and smiles, then sucks her teeth and shuts her eyes and presses all her softness into me.

I reach below her stomach for the scar she earned while bearing children. There is a lip of fat on either side. I pinch it and she moans. As I kiss her ear she reaches up and slings her arms around my neck.

I wet my thumb and trace her hollows, her underarms, her nostrils, her navel, then the birthing scar again. As she sighs I raise her gown. She releases me so I can slip it off. I leave it bunched above her breasts, framing her within her own reflection; and she sees her many colors—her copper hair, her custard skin, the trail of purple bruises on her neck and rippled stomach, between her legs the coils of deepest nigger black.

She turns around and kisses me, tipping up with girlish glee. She hugs me tightly and I watch her in the mirror, her spine drawn tight inside her body, pulling down her shoulder blades. She tongues my nipple through the fabric of my yellow cot- ton shirt, then drops herself against her heels, thudding on the wooden floor, now rubbing hard against me, her bottom sucking in then flaring out. Something spurts inside me every time I see her underlying fatness pool then drain below her skin.

Naked now, we kiss. Our bodies damp with sweat, we shine each other slowly with our palms. All of this in silence. She turns around and plants her palms against the dresser, reaches down between her legs and finds me.

“We may never fuck like this again,” she whispers. “We may never fuck again at all. But this is what it is—a fuck. And this is what I want.”

From the Hardcover edition.
Colin Channer|Author Q&A

About Colin Channer

Colin Channer - Satisfy My Soul

Photo © Joanne Chan

COLIN CHANNER is the author of the national bestselling novels Waiting in Vain and Satisfy My Soul, and the novella I’m Still Waiting. In 1998, his influential debut novel Waiting in Vain was selected as a Critic’s Choice by the Washington Post Book World, which described it as a “clear redefinition of the Caribbean novel.” Waiting in Vain was also selected as Book of the Summer by Time Out New York and excerpted in Hot Spots: The Best Erotic Writing in Modern Fiction, which placed Mr. Channer in the company of writers such as Russell Banks, E. L. Doctorow, Don DeLillo, and David Foster Wallace. Described as “Bob Marley with a pen instead of Gibson guitar” by award-winning poet and critic Kwame Dawes, Mr. Channer was born in Jamaica and lives in New York. He is the founder and artistic director of the Calabash International Literary Festival (calabashfestival.org), the only annual international literary festival in the Caribbean. Mr. Channer is the bass player in the reggae band Pipecock Jaxxon and has taught fiction writing workshops in Jamaica, London and New York.

For more information visit colinchanner.com or write to him at colin@colinchanner.com. He answers all his mail himself.

Author Q&A


What is SATISFY MY SOUL saying about the American experience?
That the destruction of African gods has shaped the destiny of this country because African-American people have been left with no vision of themselves as higher beings. This affects our ambitions and the assurance with which we move through this world. It is saying that the sons and daughters of slaves have much to gain from reopening a conversation with the gods we left behind in Africa in order to satisfy our souls. It is saying that this satisfaction of our souls is an important stage in the development of individual African-American people. It is saying that the emotional trauma of separation from our gods remains with us today.

What is SATISFY MY SOUL saying about Africa?
That it is a place of great complexity that will always disappoint people who are searching for simple answers.

This novel brings together spirituality and eroticism, two ideas that always seem to be at war. How hard was it to do that?
It wasn’t hard at all. See, the spirit and the flesh are at war if you as a person are at war with yourself. When you are at peace with yourself then you experience the bliss of clarity. When this happens, the erotic flows into the spiritual and the spiritual flows into the erotic. Carey, the central character, is at war with himself. So is Frances, the woman with whom he falls in love.

See, the love story is a basic form: two people in love with an obstacle between them. What makes one love story more interesting than another is the originality of the obstacle between them. You can make it something trivial or you can make it something with substance. In this story the obstacle between the lovers is religion. But the lovers are sexually expressive. They are not virginal in any way. They both have a lot of mileage on their clocks. And this makes them deliciously complicated. Because of this the story isn’t morally predictable. There are no clearly right or wrong people here. Just good people working against the impulse to do bad things.

How did your own religious convictions shape your writing of this story?
The truth is that the story shaped my religious convictions more than the other way around. I was christened in the Anglican Church. And as a teenager I became involved in the Evangelical church. Right now I consider myself to be a secular Rastafarian. My guiding principles are rooted in Rastafarianism but I don’t believe that Haile Selassie is or was God. But writing in the first person present tense I was able to occupy Carey’s soul and feel with him the ways in which it was being pulled by African spirits, by memory, by destiny. And so I grew. Before I began writing this book I didn’t have the assurance to look for spiritual sustenance in Africa, was still suspicious of traditional African spiritual beliefs. But now I am not. And that has been so liberating to me as a person and as a creative force.

You have written three books with titles taken from songs by Bob Marley. How has Marley shaped you?
Marley is a great storyteller. And naming my work after his songs is a way of honoring him. It is also a way to honor the creative imagination of the Jamaican people. Marley influenced me in that he answered a lot of questions before I even needed to ask them. Through his actions he showed me that art that is true to itself and true its subject will stand the test of time. He showed me that love as a subject is just as important as politics or revolution. He showed me that an artist from Jamaica can create work that is relevant to the world. And he showed me through work like "Redemption Song" how to distill the essence of monumental moments and great ideas into something that ordinary people can understand.

Caribbean writers seem to have a fascination with language, with poetry in language. Why is this?
I think the Caribbean fascination with language has to do with the fact that most Caribbean writers are effectively bilingual. Most of us speak patois dialects at home. So we bring the music of the dialect into standard English. Jamaican dialect for example has a very limited vocabulary. To create subtlety of meaning we rely on metaphors, which is in effect a kind of recycling of thought. So we think metaphorically in the Caribbean, to begin with. And metaphor is the one of the cornerstones of poetry. Plus the fascination with poetry also reflects our general exuberance. We are exuberant people. And poetry is language at its most exuberant. And that exuberance is in many ways a matter of landscape, the color of flowers, the brightness of the sun. All these things influence the creative mind. And on top of all this we have great role models such as Kamau Braithwaite, Lorna Goodison and Derek Walcott.

Speaking of difference, how do you deal with comparisons to your fellow contributors to GOT TO BE REAL, E. Lynn Harris, Eric Jerome Dickey and Marcus Major?
It depends on who is making the comparison. Sometimes I laugh. Sometimes I scratch my head. Sometimes I shake it. Each of these writers is different from the other; and I am different from all of them. Lynn and Eric are writing machines. You can count on them for a book a year. They are very clear about their ambitions: they write entertainment. And people turn to them for that. My ambitions are different. My aim is to do several things at once -- entertain, discuss, inflame, anger, inspire, illuminate, transform, seduce.

This is in many ways a matter of temperament and choice. If I could write the kind of book I could be proud of in a year I would. The truth is that I can’t. But my ambitions also reflect the influence of reggae music. The reggae artist creates music for more than just entertainment. Yes, you must be able to groove to it and have some fun but the work must also be able to take you to a higher place in the mind and in the spirit.

Your narrator Carey McCullough is a fascinating character. Tell us more about him.
Carey is an African-American man who has a mystical experience with his spiritual past when he falls in love with Frances, a Ghanaian woman whose language he has been mysteriously speaking in his dreams since he was twelve years old. In Carey we have the collective experience of all the sons and daughters of slaves. Africa for us is a place that we simultaneously yearn for and fear. So in Carey and Frances we have the love affair of two people. But we also have the love affair of tens of millions of people and the continent of their origin.

So in Carey then we have a rootless man, who on the surface seems to delight in his rootlessness, but who really wants to set down roots. But when he finally finds his roots, in Africa, he does not want to go because it is a place that deep down inside he fears.

Carey is a complicated man. He is the result of a tumultuous marriage of convenience between a member of the Nation of Islam and a white Jamaican Jew. But unlike his siblings Carey does not look mixed at all. In fact he is extremely dark. And this prevents him from being deeply rooted in his family.

When he is five years old his family flees the U.S. for Cuba. When he is ten they move to Jamaica. At eighteen he goes off to university in England, returning to the States in his twenties. And this prevents him from being deeply rooted in a physical place.

But he is rootless in another more fundamental way, in the religious sense. His paternal grandfather is a Ghanaian doctor who married an African-American woman from Tennessee. Carey’s father was an Anglican priest before he joined the Nation of Islam. Carey’s mother is an atheist who becomes a religious zealot. Out of all this religious confusion Carey becomes a Rastafarian, a religious fusion of Christian and African traditions. And he remains comfortable here until he meets Frances and Africa begins to call him home. This is when he realizes how Christian he really is.

But with all this depth he also very sexy, very compelling to women. He is imaginative and bright with an athletic body. And he is adventurous and expressive in bed. The first time that he has sex with Frances she is on a swing suspended by rope from the branches of a mango tree. She is wearing a white dress. He is wearing jeans. They have the hottest conversations and the most explosive arguments. But their making up is infused with so much sweetness, so much romance, so much genuine truth and vulnerability. Theirs is a love story for all time.

Frances is, easily, one of the most self-assured and clear-headed female characters in your writing. It is she who teaches Carey how to really make love. Do you see her as a progression in your treatment of women in your work?
I do. Frances is a woman in complete charge of her sexuality. More so than Sylvia in WAITING IN VAIN or Mia in I’M STILL WAITING. She has no guilt surrounding sex. She sees sex as one of many exuberant expressions. I think that the fact that I have written a character like this reveals my own evolution or progression as a person. But I think she also reflects my evolution as a writer. Frances is in tune with her male energy, and Sylvia and Mia are not. That is a significant distinction. See, we all have a male and female energy in us, for we are just spiritual beings having a human experience.

How is it that you are able to write sex so well from a woman’s point of view?
I think that my ability to write about sex from a woman’s point of view has a lot to do with imagination and assurance. Sex in my work is not just a matter of people getting off. If a scene is being written from a woman’s point if view it means that I already know this woman as a character, I already understand her from the inside.

Beyond that it then becomes a matter of imagination and assurance. Without a certain assurance in myself as a man I would not be able to free my imagination to remain inside that woman and experience lovemaking from her point of view then shift outside and observe her. It is that continuous shifting from inside to outside that makes the scenes ring true for female readers. Many male writers find it difficult to enter the mindscape of their female characters. And many female characters find it difficult to enter the mind of their male characters. Without this capacity it is difficult to write convincingly about people doing anything, including sex.

What are the secrets of writing a good sex scene?
First, the scene must belong in the book. If you’re not sure if it belongs in the book, you should test it the way you would test any scene: does it move the story along? If it does not, then cut it.

So let’s say the scene belongs. How do you make it work? One of the secrets to writing a good sex scene is the understanding that the hidden is always sexy. And what is more hidden than the mind? To write a sex scene with great erotic power, you have to expose the reader to the thoughts and reflections and associations being tossed around in the characters’ minds. Let the reader understand the meaning of the moment.

Externally, the same idea prevails: the hidden is always sexy. Write as if you’re looking through a magnifying glass. Let us see the little creases, the hidden moles. This kind of intimacy draws the reader into the moment.

Metaphorical language is also important, for it allows you to create powerful images while allowing you to avoid cliches and pornography.

Why did you make Carey and Kwabena playwrights?
I think theater is a fascinating world and I wanted to present some fascinating black characters to the world. It is a simple as that. Some critics might read some deep things into the choice. The deep reasons are probably there on a subconscious level, but I am not aware of them. But what I will say though is that being playwrights makes them interesting. The story also deals with rivalry between Carey and Kwabena, who are best friends. There is the old rivalry as playwrights. Then there is the new rivalry surrounding Frances. Theater lends itself to this kind of rivalry because staging a play requires so much collaboration, so many things to go the right way at the right time for a play to be produced. So it is much easier for a good playwright to get overshadowed than it is say for a good novelist to get overshadowed. Kwabena is a playwright who is overshadowed. Carey is a playwright who is successful. The woman who breaks Kwabena’s heart as a teenager falls in love with Carey. I found this compelling as complicating conflict.

The main characters in WAITING IN VAIN and your novella I’M STILL WAITING (included in the book GOT TO BE REAL) are artistic men of color. Why is that?
It might just be an example of a writer writing what he knows. But I suspect that it is something deeper than that. These characters are creative men because I think that I am using these characters to work out some thoughts about manhood. If men, especially black men, begin to apply their creative imagination to the question of masculinity I think we would be happier with ourselves, which would make us better fathers and husbands and boyfriends. But instead of using our imaginations, instead of improvising, we are
following the outmoded ways of earlier generations. But beyond this, I love being around creative people. And because I write slowly -- SATISFY MY SOUL for example took six years -- I create characters with whom I enjoy spending time.

Fire in WAITING IN VAIN, Michael in I’M STILL WAITING and now Carey in SATISFY MY SOUL are all black men in conflict with their fathers. Does this in any way reflect your own relationship with your father?
My father died when I was twelve and he and my mother separated when I was six. I have no father conflict because I essentially had no father. If anything not having a father has freed me to write about men with difficult father issues because I have no father to offend. It would be much harder for me to write about men or women in conflict with their mothers because my mother is alive and she raised me.

Also, Fire, Michael and Carey are all multiracial black men. What is this saying?
That multi-racial men exist. I think that I am by nature a contrarian. And America’s fascination with racial purity is too much of an easy target to ignore. I create multiracial characters to take people out of their comfort zones. Black people don’t always act like black people. White people don’t always act like white people. But humans always act like humans. And I am fascinated by human beings. Plus, Caribbean people accept the fact of racial mixing. The national motto of Jamaica is, "Out of many, one people."

You seem to really like this book a lot. Do you have a favorite scene?
It is hard to say, but there is one scene that really haunts me. It is a scene of real tenderness between Carey and his father. In the scene Carey’s father turns up at in the lobby of the Public Theater in New York on the opening night of Carey’s mounting of Garcia Lorca’s Blood Wedding. Carey’s father is in bad shape. The way the scene plays out, with these two black men trying to resolve issues that existed before either of them was born, is very moving. To understand why this is moving you have to remember that the novel is written in first-person present tense, which means that I had to write and re-write that scene from inside Carey’s head. I saw what he saw and felt what he felt. It is one of my favorite scenes because I was able to bring out a series of complicated emotions without being sentimental. So this is my favorite scene as a writer.

My favorite scene as a reader though is the scene on the swing. Every woman will want to be Frances here. In this scene she allows herself the dual pleasures of domination and surrender. The tension between spirituality and eroticism pushes the scene along and pulls the language to perhaps the highest height achieved in the book.

Who are some of your contemporaries?
There are many. Novel-wise there are Thomas Glave, Patricia Powell, Margaret Cezair-Thompson, Nalo Hopkinson, Rosemarie Robotham, Leone Ross, Christopher John Farley, Marcia Douglas and many, many more. In non-fiction prose there are Malcolm Gladwell and Joan Morgan, and these are just two names. In poetry we can begin with Claudia Rankine, Kwame Dawes and Geoffrey Philp and go on from there. These are all young people who are living and publishing in North America.

We are living in a very exciting time for Jamaican literature. In fact Kwame Dawes and I founded the Calabash International Literary Festival to celebrate this success and to give Jamaican writers a way to give back to their community. We had the first one last year and it was great. The next one will be held this coming Memorial Day Weekend - three days of readings and live music. And all events will be free and open to the public. It is a
different kind of festival.

Your narratives always involve travel. WAITING IN VAIN is set in New York, London and Jamaica. I’M STILL WAITING is set in Jamaica and New York. SATISFY MY SOUL is set in Jamaica, South Carolina, New York and Ghana. Africa has always been there as a subtext in your writing, but in SATISFY MY SOUL it comes through to the surface. Why did you physically take us to Africa this time?
I didn’t set out to do it this way, although I recognized it as a possibility. The momentum of the story took me there. But it is not just a matter of the momentum of the story, it is also a matter of my personal evolution. Writing from inside the head of Carey McCullough brought me in contact with my own complicated relationship to Africa. I, Colin Channer, wanted to go there. It wasn’t just Carey alone.

But this is in many ways a story of the middle passage, about the enduring significance of that journey. The other stories were not about this. In the other stories, the relationship to Africa is something textural, shading so to speak.

But the relationship to Africa is at the root of this story. This is about a man who needs to overcome his spiritual complications in order to satisfy his soul. To do that he has to stop warring with his ancestral gods. He has to make peace with history. And to do that he has to make his way to where these gods reside at the risk of offending the god of the Bible, the only god that he has known.

And finally, why do you like writing love stories?
I love the idea of love. I am a romantic. Again I am by nature a contrarian. There is the notion in literature that writers with ambition should leave things live love for amateurs. I am fascinated by the possibilities of the genre. One of my favorite novels is Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Now Marquez is Nobel Prize winner. If he doesn’t feel as if he is above writing love stories then why should I?

From the Hardcover edition.




A #1 Blackboard bestseller and a Washington Post Critic’s Choice

“[Waiting In Vain] is in danger of remaining a work perceived primarily as yet
another black romantic tale. . . . The love story is interesting,
but not the most compelling element of the novel: What is intriguing
is the assurance of the voice, the strength of characterization,
and the clear redefinition of the Caribbean novel.”
The Washington Post Book World



Today’s Black Woman

Time Out New York

From the Hardcover edition.

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