City of Light

Cyrus Colter, Author Thunder's Mouth Press $22.95 (423p) ISBN 978-1-56025-059-3
Paul Kessey is a Princeton-educated African American living in Paris, where he has used his wealthy father's money to found the Coterie, an organization with an uncertain political agenda that flirts with the idea of creating an African homeland for diaspora blacks. Occasionally Paul interrupts his philosophical conversations with his landlady and with his lover, Cecile(a married white doctor with two daughters), and other acquaintances to write long letters to his dead mother, Saturn Marie. These include passages about their quasi-sexual relationship, his resentment of his light-skinned mother's treatment of his first love, Jeannette, a brilliant black woman, and of her general attitudes toward color. ``But why didn't you school me on how to be black?'' he asks plaintively. Colter ( A Chocolate Soldier ) has a difficult, wordy style that tends to bog down what little action there is, but his imagery is occasionally inspired. After Paul and Cecile are the victims of a racist attack, Cecile begins having nightmares and then grows fat on a steady diet of ``niggerines,'' tiny chocolate candies shaped like ``grinning, dancing, Negro minstrels.'' (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/02/1993
Release date: 08/01/1993
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 423 pages - 978-1-56025-061-6
Paperback - 423 pages - 978-0-8101-5080-5
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