cover image Will Do Magic for Small Change

Will Do Magic for Small Change

Andrea Hairston. Aqueduct, $21 trade paper (472p) ISBN 978-1-61976-101-8

Hairston (Mindscape) brews up a potent blend of West African religion and history, magic, science fiction, theater, and the life of one Pittsburgh teen in the 1980s. The curtain opens with Cinnamon Jones at the funeral for her half-brother, Sekou, who has died of an overdose and left her as the Guardian of a book called simply The Chronicles, which gives the history of the Wanderer. The Wanderer is an extradimensional being who first materialized in embattled Dahomey, a kingdom in West Africa, in 1892, and whose story is gradually revealed to Cinnamon as she reads the book. Three years later, she introduces two other teens, Klaus Beckenbauer and Marie Masuda, to The Chronicles; they read it together and resolve to reunite the aspects of the Wanderer that have been scattered. The three adolescents discover love and mystery while being supported by Sekou’s shade and the spirit-filled elders of Cinnamon’s family. The glory of West Africa’s orishas pulses off the pages, as does the weird power of the Wanderer, an unusual take on an alien life form. The entire work is filled with magic, celebrating West Africans, Native Americans, art, and love that transcends simple binary genders. Hairston’s novel is a completely original and stunning work. Agent: Kristopher O’Higgins, Scribe Agency. (June)