Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
In the winter of 1926, when everybody everywhere sees nothing but good things ahead, Joe Trace, middle-aged door-to-door salesman of Cleopatra beauty products, shoots his teenage lover to death. At the funeral, Joe’s wife, Violet, attacks the girl’s corpse. This passionate, profound story of love and obsession brings us back and forth in time, as a narrative is assembled from the emotions, hopes, fears, and deep realities of black urban life.
ethical conflicts between the sacred and the secular; the hand of the past being crushed by the present. Primary among these features, however, was invention. Improvisation, originality, change. Rather than be about those characteristics, the novel would seek to become them. My effort to enter that world was constantly being frustrated. I couldn’t locate the voice, or position the eye. The story opened with the betrayed wife intent on killing her rival. “She stood there licking snowflakes from
I ain’t allowed near her. Any other man be running around, stepping out every night, you know that. I ain’t like that. I ain’t.” Of course he wasn’t, but he did it anyway. Sneaked around, plotted, and stepped out every night the girl demanded. They went to Mexico, Sook’s and clubs whose names changed every week—and he was not alone. He became a Thursday man and Thursday men are satisfied. I can tell from their look some outlaw love is about to be, or already has been, satisfied. Weekends and
everything and everyone and try to figure out their plans, their reasonings, long before they do. You have to understand what it’s like, taking on a big city: I’m exposed to all sorts of ignorance and criminality. Still, this is the only life for me. I like the way the City makes people think they can do what they want and get away with it. I see them all over the place: wealthy whites, and plain ones too, pile into mansions decorated and redecorated by black women richer than they are, and both
oil. Terrified, perhaps, of so violent a home. Unaware that, had it failed, had she braved mammymade poisons and mammy’s urgent fists, she could have had the best-dressed hair in the City. Instead, she hung around in the fat knees of strangers’ children. In shop windows, and baby carriages left for a moment in the sun. Not realizing that, bitch or dumpling, the two of them, mother and daughter, could have walked Broadway together and ogled the clothes. Could be sitting together, cozy in the
Jars, baskets, pots; a doll, a spindle, earrings, a photograph, a stack of sticks, a set of silver brushes and a silver cigar case. Also. Also, a pair of man’s trousers with buttons of bone. Carefully folded, a silk shirt, faded pale and creamy—except at the seams. There, both thread and fabric were a fresh and sunny yellow. But where is she? There she is. No dancing brothers are in this place, nor any breathless girls waiting for the white bulb to be exchanged for the blue. This is an