cover image Trinity


Zelda Lockhart. Amistad, $27.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-0631-6095-8

Lockhart (Fifth Born) chronicles a family’s generational trauma and a spiritual intervention in her intense latest. Benjamin and Lenard Lee are raised in 1940s Mississippi, where they work as field hands for their abusive father, Old Deddy. Their mother, Lottie, tells Benjamin when he’s 13 of her plans to leave and earn enough money to rescue the brothers from their father. Angry and distraught, Benjamin shoots and kills her. The boys’ paths diverge from there: Lenard eventually follows their half brother James to Missouri and becomes a teacher, while Benjamin, now a Korean War veteran, repeats Old Deddy’s abuse on his wife and their son, B.J. Later, B.J. leaves to fight in Vietnam, a war he survives but which wreaks havoc on his psyche and his ability to connect with his wife, Sheila. The Lees’ pain is witnessed by a generations-old spirit, which has also seen their ancestors’ enslavement. When B.J. and Sheila have a daughter, Lottie Rebecca, the spirit is born with her. Lottie Rebecca’s precocious wisdom makes it difficult for her to bond with others until a cathartic trip to her great-grandparents’ Mississippi home, which reveals to her the best way to begin healing the family’s wounds. Lockhart skillfully untangles the long-term effects of violence, trauma, and the history of enslavement on the family. This is not to be missed. (July)