cover image If This World Were Mine

If This World Were Mine

E. Lynn Harris. Doubleday, $23.95 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-385-48655-2

Harris, author of the bestseller And This Too Shall Pass, tells another involving tale of contemporary black lives. Members of a monthly journal-writing group, four African American friends from college days who all live in the Chicago area, help each other through the dramas of their respective lives. They're all approaching 40 and looking for answers: Riley Woodson, a self-proclaimed Black Princess immured in a stultifying marriage; Yolanda Williams, a media consultant; gay psychiatrist Leland Thompson; and Dwight Scott, a computer engineer simmering with hatred for white people. Best friends Leland and Yolanda each want to share life with a responsive mate; Dwight longs to extricate himself from his anger by working in a black-owned business; and Riley dreams of finding fulfillment as a poet and singer. But betrayals in love and business, as well as other conflicts and resentments, threaten to wrench them apart. As the characters work through their individual knots of personal dilemmas, they rediscover the bonds that initially drew them together. A supple raconteur, Harris explores the intimacies of friendship with a sensitive eye. Yet it's likely that many readers will long for more structure and dramatic payoff than this complex yet amorphous and sometimes sentimental buddy tale provides. Author tour. (Aug.)