March 4, 2024 | Rome, Italy


By |2018-03-21T18:27:39+01:00December 1st, 2004|Recent Reviews|

By Toni Morrison

Vintage, 2004. 234 pages.


ix black women’s lives shape a four-decade story, from Depression to the fervid Civil Rights movement of the 1960s into letdown of the 70s. Yet while history roars around them, May, Christine, Heed, Junior, Vida, and L are obsessed by Bill Cosey. He has a wide heart, broad shoulders and broader smile (tattered clichés, for Morrison). At his black waterfront hotel there’s fine jazz and fine loving: dresses rustle; a man humps over a slender body in the sands.

Morrison’s lush, sensual writing underlines the deeply sexual nature of six characters’ love for Cosey. A sketchy secondary theme of female bonding is undeveloped, perhaps to offer it as surprise twist in plot finale. Result: the novel’s focus reduces black women’s lives in these dramatic decades to self-destructive yearning for Mr. C., “a good bad man or a bad good man.”

An enthralling prose talent relates the trivial tale. Which makes this book all the more disappointing.

About the Author:

Former Rabelais scholar Patricia Fogarty honed her skills in the New York City publishing world. She lives in Rome and has been the magazine's book columnist for a decade.