THE UNTELLING

Tayari Jones, Author . Warner $24.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-446-53246-4

The legacy of a fatal accident haunts surviving family members in Jones's deep-felt second novel (after Leaving Atlanta ). As a young girl, native Atlantan Aria Jackson lost her father and baby sister in a car accident; her inability to comfort her dying father, and her mother's failed effort to save the baby, have damaged their relationship. After graduating from Spelman, Aria goes to work at a local literacy center, where she is drawn to outspoken Keisha Evers, a young teen pregnant with her second child. When Aria believes she is pregnant, she confides in Keisha before sharing the news with her fiancé, Dwayne. But when mysterious cramping sends her to the doctor, Aria learns that she is not pregnant but instead experiencing very early menopause. Reluctant to tell Dwayne the truth, Aria claims to have lost the baby. Dwayne's desire for a child remains strong, and Aria watches with growing envy as Keisha's pregnancy progresses. When a second doctor confirms Aria's condition, she is forced to make difficult choices with the shadow of her past looming over her. The first-person narration is convincing and genuine, and Jones handles her material with sensitivity and sympathy. This strong sophomore effort will bolster her reputation. (Apr. 18)

Reviewed on: 02/28/2005
Release date: 04/01/2005
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