Mama Day

Gloria Naylor, Author Ticknor & Fields $17.95 (312p) ISBN 978-0-89919-716-6
The beauty of Naylor's prose is its plainness, and the secret power of her third novel is that she does not simply tell a story but brings you face to face with human beings living through the complexity, pain and mystery of real life. But Mama Day is a black story as well as a human story, which is, paradoxically, what makes it such an all-encompassing experience. A young black couple meet in New York and fall in love. Ophelia (""Cocoa'') is from Willow Island, off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia but part of neither state, and George is an orphan who was born and raised in New York. Every August, Cocoa visits her grandmother Abigail and great-aunt Miranda (``Mama Day'') back home. The lure of New York and the magic of home and Mama Day's folk medicines and mystical powers pull at the couple and bring about unforeseen, yet utterly believable, changes in them and their relationship. Naylor interweaves three simple narratives,Cocoa and George alternately tell about their relationship, while a third-person narrative relates the story of Mama Day and Willow Island. The plot is simple; the mystical events of the novel's second part throw a retrospective glow across the more unprepossessing first part, revealing a cornucopia of spiritual and religious themes throughout. Naylor's (The Women of Brewster Place, Linden Hills) skills as a teller of tales are equal to her philosophical and moral aims.The rhythmic alternation of voices and locales here has a narcotic effect that inspires trust and belief in both Mama Day and Naylor herself, who illustrates with convincing simplicity and clear-sighted intelligence the magical interconnectedness of people with nature, with God and with each other. $100,000 ad/promo; Literary Guild selection; author tour. (February 22)
Reviewed on: 02/01/1988
Release date: 02/01/1988
Genre: Fiction
MP3 CD - 978-1-4233-5911-1
Hardcover - 487 pages - 978-0-8161-4692-5
MP3 CD - 978-1-4233-5912-8
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Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-679-72181-9
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-930435-54-7
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