Compelling, sensual, elegiac, shocking - a major new work by the Nobel Prize-winning novelist, about desire, sex, lust, obsession, yearning, and ultimately about love.
Toni Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. She is the author of many novels, including The Bluest Eye, Beloved (made into a major film), Paradise and Love. She has also received the National Book Critics Circle Award and a Pulitzer Prize for her fiction.
When gorgeous and amoral Junior arrives in the Southern coastal town of Silk, chance brings her to a deadly crossroads. She talks herself into a job at the center of a love/hate feud between two elderly women, the remaining members of a clan who once defined Silk's African American elite. The tension involves the late Bill "Papa" Cosey and the riches he achieved during his heyday in the 1940s and 1950s as proprietor of a fabulous resort. Along the way, he obtained the intense love of many women, including granddaughter Christine, lower-class child bride Heed, and spectacular "sporting woman" Celestial. Eight compact chapters named for aspects of Cosey's character ("Benefactor," "Lover," "Guardian," and so on) present the shifting perspectives of those entranced by this charismatic, secretive man long after his death. Nobel Laureate Morrison's latest is a vividly narrated exploration of the pleasures, burdens, and distortions of obsessive devotion. Given the book's brevity, the dialog must carry the story convincingly-and, of course, Morrison is a master at this. Certainly, this book won't disappoint readers already familiar with Morrison and will serve as a good introduction for those new to her. Highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/03.]-Starr E. Smith, Fairfax Cty. P.L., VA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
At the center of this haunting, slender eighth novel by Nobel winner Morrison is the late Bill Cosey-entrepreneur, patriarch, revered owner of the glorious Cosey Hotel and Resort (once "the best and best-known vacation spot for colored folk on the East Coast") and captivating ladies' man. When the novel opens, the resort has long been closed, and Cosey's mansion shelters only two feuding women, his widow, Heed, and his granddaughter, Christine. Then sly Junior Viviane, fresh out of "Reform, then Prison," answers the ad Heed placed for a companion and secretary, and sets the novel's present action-which is secondary to the rich past-in motion. "Rigid vipers," Vida Gibbons calls the Cosey women; formerly employed at the Cosey resort, Vida remembers only its grandeur and the benevolence of its owner, though her husband, Sandler, knew the darker side of Vida's idol. As Heed and Christine feud ("Like friendship, hatred needed more than physical intimacy: it wanted creativity and hard work to sustain itself"), Junior of the "sci-fi eyes" vigorously seduces Vida and Sandler's teenage grandson. In lyrical flashbacks, Morrison slowly, teasingly reveals the glories and horrors of the past-Cosey's suspicious death, the provenance of his money, the vicious fight over his coffin, his disputed will. Even more carefully, she unveils the women in Cosey's life: his daughter-in-law, May, whose fear that civil rights would destroy everything they had worked for drove her to kleptomania and insanity; May's daughter, Christine, who spent hard years away from the paradise of the hotel; impoverished Heed the Night Johnson, who became Cosey's very young "wifelet"; the mysterious "sporting woman" Celestial; and L, the wise and quiet former hotel chef, whose first-person narration weaves throughout the novel, summarizing and appraising lives and hearts. Morrison has crafted a gorgeous, stately novel whose mysteries are gradually unearthed, while Cosey, its axis, a man "ripped, like the rest of us, by wrath and love," remains deliberately in shadow, even as his family burns brightly, terribly around him. (Oct. 28) Forecast: Morrison's measured pace-she produces a new novel every five years or so-does much to build reader anticipation. A full slate of media appearances (Today, Charlie Rose, NPR, etc.) and an 11-city tour will further whet appetites for her latest, which will be released in a first printing of 500,000. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
"Toni Morrison makes me believe in God. She makes me believe in a divine being, because luck and genetics don't seem to come close to explaining her" Guardian "Love is a brilliant book... Into a short narrative she packs mystery, suspense and a multi-stranded tale told with extraordinary deftness" Financial Times "This is a novel that demands to be read at least twice, for it is so rich and satisfying that it sweeps you into a subtle world that you need time to take in... Quite breathtaking" Daily Mail "Love's power lies in the luminosity and energy of its poetic images" Observer "Love is her best work yet, a slender but mesmerising tale" Evening Standard