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More than You Know.

More Than You Know by Rosalyn Story Agate, September 2004 $24.95, ISBN 0-972-45628-7

What comes to mind first as I finish Rosalyn Story's fiction debut, More Than You Know, is simply "wow." Some people just know how to spin a tale. A newcomer to fiction, Story writes with the plot-twisting precision of a veteran and a lyricism reminiscent of James Baldwin's novel-turned-serenade Sonny's Blues.

Her story begins more than 40 years in the past, when a 9-year-old boy delivers an abandoned baby to the doorstep of a beauty shop. Sworn to secrecy by the birth mother and paid the tidy sum of $2, young L.J. Tillman hands over the baby to the owner and disappears.

Fast-forwarding to the present, we discover a middle-aged L.J., a disillusioned saxophonist whose once comfortable life in Kansas City has been reduced to that of a homeless New York City street performer. The downturn began almost a year earlier, after he begrudgingly revealed his long-held secret to his wife. She threw him out. Now he's a dead man walking, treading through the memories of his past and hoping there's still time to re-build for his future. Well done.

What a story it is; the author has in every respect lived up to her last name. A symphonic violinist, Story uses her musical acumen to create a melody between the pages of More Than You Knew. She is also author of the nonfiction title And So I Sing (Warner Books, Inc., February 1990). Her latest work doesn't skip a beat.

Regina Cash-Clark is an assistant professor of journalism at Ramapo College of New Jersey and a freelance writer/editor.
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Author:Cash-Clark, Regina
Publication:Black Issues Book Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Nov 1, 2004
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