Keeper of the House

Rebecca T. Godwin, Author St. Martin's Press $19.95 (277p) ISBN 978-0-312-11405-3
In this deft, entertaining novel by the author of Private Parts (1992), an effervescent 14-year-old African American girl is taken from her grandmother's side in 1929 to be the housekeeper in a South Carolina brothel. With warmth, wit and whimsy, Minyon Manigault offers her unique perspective on the next 40 years at Hazelhedge, where she remains virginal as many of the ``hoes'' lose their youth before her eyes. Mizz Addie, the madam, keeps a sharp eye on her frequently changing charges and gives Minyon, the only woman of color in the house, power and freedoms she would not find elsewhere (such as being able to talk back to the ``hoes''). Godwin's greatest achievement in this fiction ``born of fact'' (a noted house of prostitution existed in the same setting as Hazelhedge) is Minyon herself-her lively and amiable voice displays notable variation, complexity and depth. Narrated in the colloquial Gullah dialect spoken by many African Americans in the South, the novel touches on 20th-century race relations, but readers will be more affected by its human issues of motherhood, self-discovery and moral strength. First serial to Paris Review. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/03/1994
Release date: 10/01/1994
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-312-13529-4
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-4668-5039-2
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