Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hostage of Lies



Hostage of Lies
by Maxine Thompson



  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Urban Soul; 1 edition (December 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599830957
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599830957


Here's the blurb:


Product Description

A labyrinth of devastating family secrets and taboos, No Pockets in a Shroud unfolds like a Chinese box, a story within a story. In the first generation, the mother, Miss Magg, loved the younger brother, Tiger Godbolt. However, an insecure orphan, Miss Magg wound up marrying the older staid brother, Reverend Godbolt, for security. Ironically, years later, the daugther, Nefertiti, also marires the brother who was her parents' pick, as the original love triangle is mirrored in the next generation. 


From the Author

The story is a vivid portrait of Reverend Godbolt's family and his forebears. The family's secrets set the stage for a profound and provocative debate about black identity and destiny in America's past and present. We see the saga of Reverend Godbolt, who has always ruled his family with a steel glove, and who is questioning his faith, near the end of his life. A secret has kept him from truly trusting his wife and even loving one of his children. We see his spirited daughter, Nefertiti, who harbors a secret of her own, which keeps her from being able to actualize as a woman. We have the love triangle of the two men who loved Nefertiti, Pharaoh Curry, her first lover, and Isaac Thorne, her first husband, who both are trying to win her back. This situation is compounded by Nefertiti's current interracial marriage. It was this last act of insurrection against the family's mores which has ex-communicated Nefertiti from her insular family for the seven years preceding her father's seventy-fifth birthday celebration. At the opening of the novel, Nefertiti has returned from Santa Monica, California to Shallow's Corner, Michigan. In her return as the prodigal minister's daughter, the scene is set, as past and present ghosts of hidden sins come home to roost.
Although the kernel of the story takes place from a Wednesday through a Sunday, the story is told out of sequence, in order to reflect the way that the memories of past regrets haunt the characters.

As the formerly owned chattel of white America, there seems to be a propensity among the characters in the novel to own people, places, things, (lucre). In one instance, this is exemplified where the character goes so far as to steal heir property from his brother. Throughout the Godbolt family's struggle for upward mobility, there co-exists the denial of their violent ancestral history, fraught with lynchings, murder and fratricide. The family's violence can be seen as a microcosm of the larger society, yet at the same time there is a kind of self-hatred turned inward, a social implosion of sorts, going on with the Godbolt family. The denial of their ancestral past reflects the denial of an entire nature of its historical past. That is, this country's refusal, one hundred years later, to deal with the lingering effects of the cancer of slavery.

The title and the theme are intertwined. The characters, in their search for wholeness, whether through materialism, classism or religion, lose sight of the main issue. Just as they will carry nothing out of the world with them when they die, they can not own one another's soul. They can only love one another freely. It is the ability to connect, therefore redeem, one another, which determines the success, or lack thereof, of the characters in the book.

In addition, through out the novel, there is an adoption search which operates on two levels as an allegory. The search of the Diaspora of Blacks for wholeness in America (in that they were torn from Mother Africa) is mirrored by the search of one of the characters for her family tree. The novel deals with the issue of adoption which often runs counter to African American culture due to the history of children being sold away from their mothers. At the same time, the struggles a mother faces who has given a child up for adoption faces, is universal.
Post a Comment

wind follower

wind follower