The Fablesinger

Judith Woolcock Colombo, Author Crossing Press $7.95 (131p) ISBN 978-0-89594-376-7
In this fine debut, Jamaican-born Columbo artfully narrates a powerful Caribbean myth in which a village shaman (the Fablesinger) and her apprentice use powers of ``foreseeing and herbal healing'' to overcome the fear and hate unleashed by the vengeful Obeah man who serves the Sasambonsam, the King of Evil. The author develops her characters sensitively, particularly the aging, fragile Fablesinger who reluctantly relinquishes her power to a much younger woman, and her pupil, Marcia, an insecure and lonely ``spirit-touched'' girl mourning the death of her tormented mother. The struggle between good and evil is convincingly illustrated by descriptions of prophetic dreams. In one, Marcia is hit on the head by one of her severed fingers as it falls from a tree, while the Obeah man watches, laughing and grasping a bloodied hatchet. Though a heavy dose of symbolism and abstract language occasionally breaks the story's flow, Columbo's sensuous, melodic voice re-establishes it, conjuring haunting ``visions of strange, beautiful slopes with lush green grass, purple orchids, and quaint wooden villages nestled on their shoulders,'' where ``large, majestic . . . birdss with amber eyes'' lead dreamers ``over unfamiliar terrain and through strange obstacles.'' (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1989
Release date: 10/01/1989
Paperback - 131 pages - 978-0-595-19058-4
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