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by Jervy Tervalon Atria Books, July 2003 $24.00, ISBN 0-743-44884-7

After Lita Du Champ receives a 4:00 A.M. phone call summoning her home to New Orleans to her dying father's bedside, she embarks on a life-altering journey to put her father, her long-dead mother's spirit and her own soul to rest. The message is from her hateful, crazed Aunt Dot.

At her home in Los Angeles, Lita's plate has been more than full, and she is not one bit happy about it. Winston, her spineless husband, their two sons, and teenaged twins, Ava and Ana, consume Lita's life. Murder, greed, voodoo and visitations from the dead fuel Lita's volcanic anger, but her outbursts cannot keep her daughters from growing up, her father from dying, her aunts from being crazy, or her past from rearing its ugly head.

Tervalon's writing is crisp and concise, sweet and tart like a ripe Fuji apple. He has the skills to drop you into the midst of murder and mayhem without fanfare, and to immerse you in his characters' pain without losing a sense of hope and retribution. He's also one of the

rare writers who does not waste half his New Orleans novel on hand-wringing about the characters' complexions. Tervalon's work has grown richer since Understand This and All the Trouble You Need. Can't wait for the next one.

--Robin Green-Cary is a writer and owner of Sibanye bookstore in Baltimore.
COPYRIGHT 2003 Cox, Matthews & Associates
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Copyright 2003, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Green-Cary, Robin
Publication:Black Issues Book Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jul 1, 2003
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