In prose which evokes the blues lyrics that provide this novel's background, Flowers ( De Mojo Blues ) tells a prepossessing modern fable about loyalty in the sonorous voice of a third-person narrator, a ``griot'' (storyteller) also named Flowers. This alternately playful and solemn tale focuses on the love between Lucas Bodeen, a suave, piano-playing bluesman, and Melvira Dupree, a stubborn conjure woman. In 1919 they leave the Mississippi Delta for Memphis, on a ``hoodoo mission'' to locate Melvira's elusive mother, but before finding her they're drawn to rollicking, jazz-infected Beale Street, a stopping point for many hopeful Southern blacks on their way north. The author downplays Beale Street's violence, drugs and prostitution in favor of its lively atmosphere and the creative people, who in his view make up a trustworthy, cooperative ``tribe.'' Flowers's characters lead by example: Bodeen, though inclined to wallow in the blues, kicks his whiskey habit, while Melvira looks for ways to help rather than harm with her dangerous magic. Skeptics will find that good luck prevails rather too frequently here; nevertheless, this is a spirited effort, one that even includes a cameo by the young Zora Neale Hurston. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/01/1993 Release date: 02/01/1993 Genre: Fiction
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