The Goode-Brown family, led by matriarch and pillar of the community Minnie Mae, is plagued by old secrets and embarrassment over mental illness and illegitimacy. Meanwhile, single mother Francine Clark is haunted by her dead, lightning-struck husband and forced to fight against both the moral judgment of the community and her own rebellious daughter, Mona. The residents of Opulence struggle with vexing relationships to the land, to one another, and to their own sexuality. As the members of the youngest generation watch their mothers and grandmothers pass away, they live with the fear of going mad themselves and must fight to survive.
Crystal Wilkinson offers up Opulence and its people in lush, poetic detail. It is a world of magic, conjuring, signs, and spells, but also of harsh realities that only love -- and love that's handed down -- can conquer. At once tragic and hopeful, this captivating novel is a story about another time, rendered for our own.
During a terrible heat wave in 1991—the worst in a decade—ten-year-old Anton has been locked in an apartment in the projects, alone, for seven days, without air conditioning or a fan. With no electricity, the refrigerator and lights do not work. Hot, hungry, and desperate, Anton shatters a window and climbs out. Cutting his leg on the broken glass, he is covered in blood when the police find him.
Juanita, his mother, is discovered in a crack house less than three blocks away, nearly unconscious and half-naked. When she comes to, she repeatedly asks for her baby boy. She never meant to leave Anton—she went out for a quick hit and was headed right back, until her drug dealer raped her and kept her high. Though the bond between mother and son is extremely strong, Anton is placed with child services while Juanita goes to jail.
The Harvard-educated son of a US senator, Judge David Coleman is a scion of northeastern white privilege. Desperate to have a child in the house again after the tragic death of his teenage son, David uses his power and connections to keep his new foster son, Anton, with him and his wife, Delores—actions that will have devastating consequences in the years to come.
Following in his adopted family’s footsteps, Anton, too, rises within the establishment. But when he discovers the truth about his life, his birth mother, and his adopted parents, this man of the law must come to terms with the moral complexities of crimes committed by the people he loves most.
In this funny, gritty urban love story, Franklin and Zora join the ranks of fiction's most compelling couples, as they move from Scrabble to sex, from layoffs to the limits of faith and trust. Disappearing Acts is about the mystery of desire and the burdens of the past. It's about respect, what it can and can't survive. And it's about the safe and secret places that only love can find.
A richly drawn biographical chapter examines the life of McMillan and the influences her own personal experiences have exerted on her writings. In the following chapter, Richards discusses McMillan's place in the literary tradition in which such writers as Zora Neale Hurston paved the way and inspired McMillan to write realistic, yet humorous accounts of the African American romantic experience. Richards devotes a chapter to each of McMillan's first four novels; Mama (1987), Disappearing Acts (1989), Waiting to Exhale (1992), and How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1996). She discusses each novel in terms of plot, narrative style, character development, thematic issues, historical and cultural context, and alternative critical perspective. The comprehensive bibliography, including a list of reviews and index, covers the movie adaptations as well as the books.