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The Color of Family.

The Color of Family by Patricia Jones Avon Trade, December 2004 $12.95, ISBN 0-060-50965-1

When the final page turns and the cover shuts one last time, you will appreciate having read this book, threading together themes of color consciousness, adultery, jealousy and the erosive price of family secrets.

The Color of Family is the tale of Antonia Jackson's obsessive desire to claim her nephew, born, she insists, of an illicit love affair between her now-deceased twin and his white lover in the 1950s. The problem? Clayton Cannon was reared white, indeed, and he has risen as an international phenomenon in the all-white world of concert pianists. Furthermore, Antonia's children have lived in the shadow of their mother's stunted affection for Clayton and will do anything to end their mother's obsessive quest. Will Antonia stop at nothing and risk even the fragile bonds of her family? Will the ends justify the means as she stirs up old secrets and untold anxieties?

These questions drive the story forward, and the author's courage in tackling complex issues and resisting simplistic answers distinguish this novel. Lengthy passages of introspection and a tendency to describe the unimportant weigh the story down at times, but if you can survive this, the reward is an otherwise interesting story with twists aplenty.

Patricia Jones, a Baltimore native who lived in New York City with her family, passed away in 2002. The Color of Family was the third and last novel by this gifted writer.

Alea J. Mitchell is a freelance writer in New York City.
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Author:Mitchell, Alea J.
Publication:Black Issues Book Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Nov 1, 2004
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