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Soul City.

Soul City by Toure Little, Brown and Company September 2004, $23.95 ISBN 0-316-74158-2

When reporter Cadillac Jackson steps off the train in Soul City, he is eager to find out what makes the place what it is. Flowers blossom through the sidewalk; a 100-foot-tall Afro Pick is the city's central monument and the magical Biscuit Shop--complete with a DJ--is the local gathering spot. Groovy Lou's Loco Motives is an auto dealership that offers custom-made cars with a built-in jukebox that will play all the music made by one specific musician, hence the Billiemobile.

And there is an intriguing cast of Soulful citizens: 10-year-old Revren Lil' Mo Love; hottie D) Mahogany Sunflower; 366-year-old spitfire entrepreneur Granmama; town gossip Ubiquity Jones, and Fulcrum Negro, who travels a secret pathway back and forth to heaven. And there's Cool Spreadlove, a lothario vying to unseat Mayor Emperor Jones.

Toure, an author and popular social commentator, draws on his awareness of today's popular culture amusingly and smartly as very few writers have. lust as with his collection of short stories, The Portable Promise Land (see BIBR, July-August 2002), he has created an imaginary world inhabited by language and images that are downright familiar. He keeps the reader on alert, informed, and thinking twice about the way elements connected with black culture are conveyed and interpreted. So then it's up to the reader to let loose and laugh--or not. Vignettes such as Revren Lil' Mo's sermon, the Cockfoster, the Slavery Experience and Jiggaboo Shampoo are comical yet reflective.

A character named Moses says that the soil [of a nascent Soul City] will allow the Soulful "to live confined only by the boundaries of our dreams." The words ate befitting to the characters and the creator of Soul City.

Reviewed by Clarence V. Reynolds Clarence V. Reynolds is BIBR's managing editor.
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Author:Reynolds, Clarence V.
Publication:Black Issues Book Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 1, 2004
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