Joy

Marsha Hunt, Author Dutton Books $19.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-525-24942-9
The namesake of Hunt's appealing but uneven first novel is a black woman who, with her two sisters, rises from poverty in Oakland, Calif., to find brief fame in an all-girl, Supremes-like singing group. Joy has just died when the book opens, and her life story is recounted in the feisty voice of the elderly Baby Palatine, who has adoringly cared for Joy since childhood. But as the family gathers--somewhat grudgingly--for Joy's funeral, they set about destroying Baby Palatine's image of her ``God-sent'' former charge with insinuations of racial self-hatred, steamy sex, blackmail and even murder. Hunt, born in Philadelphia and now an actress in London and the mother of Mick Jagger's first child, demonstrates considerable talent in tackling the eventful career of such a complex character. Yet she still has much to master in her craft: her grasp of African-American vernacular is engaging but uneven, and the swarming plot seems a cross between Rebecca and Dreamgirls , with a final scene of carnage appropriate for a Die Hard sequel. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-452-26753-4
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