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The Hotel Alleluia.

The Hotel Alleluia

by Lucinda Roy HarperCollins Publishers, January 2000 $25.00, ISBN 0-06-019395-6

One can't help but to give Lucinda Roy an "Amen" after reading her second novel, The Hotel Alleluia. Roy, the critically acclaimed author of Lady Moses, has skillfully written an emotional story about the tenacity of sisterhood, love and identity in an African country torn by social revolution.

The Hotel Alleluia tells the story of two half-sisters who share the same mother. Joan is white; Ursuline is black. Separated at a young age, the two sisters grow up continents apart. Joan is raised in North Carolina and becomes a self-reliant businesswoman. Ursuline, who was adopted by African nuns, grows up in West Africa where she teaches art and English at a convent school. Both sisters have hit a severe lull in the ebb and flow of life. Ursuline cannot decide if she has a vocation for the sisterhood. Joan is traumatized by her mother's death. Loneliness haunts both of their lives.

Circumstances reunite the two sisters in Africa where they witness a tragedy that forces them to flee the country's growing civil unrest. Along the way they find a love and faith stronger than the cultural miles that separate them. The rhythm of The Hotel Alleluia is as graceful and elegant as a ballet. Roy's background as an award-winning poet is clearly demonstrated in her gift for language. Her talented storytelling is reminiscent of Florence Ladd's "Sarah's Psalm." Roy gives her readers a moving story of sisterhood that overcomes the travails of international struggle. The Hotel Alleluia is a significant fictional contribution to the often rigid notions of race and family--and truly a joy to read.

Shaun Neblett is a freelance writer based in Brooklyn, NY.
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Title Annotation:Review
Author:Neblett, Shaun
Publication:Black Issues Book Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jul 1, 2000
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