Review by Choice Review
In viewing Naylor's first four books as a "quartet," Kelley (Ursinus College) takes a more cohesive approach to the fiction of this contemporary African American writer than do the editors of two earlier collections--Henry Louis Gates and K.A. Appiah (Gloria Naylor: Critical Perspectives Past and Present, CH, Dec'93) and Sharon Felton and Michelle Loris (The Critical Response to Gloria Naylor, 1997). Except for Philip Page's discussion of the complex imagery of wells (an expansion of his essay in the Felton-Loris volume), the essays are original to this gathering. Contributors include Karen Schneider, Jenny Brantley, Kimberly A. Costino, Maxine Lavon Montgomery, Amy K. Levin, and Dorothy Perry Thompson. Citing a variety of theorists from Derrida to Homi Bhabha, the essayists have a particular interest in issues of gender and ethnicity, and they suggest that the author of The Women of Brewster Place (1982) was influenced by the tradition of African women's secret societies as well as by European and African American literary antecedents. Their many subjects range from narrative frames to "domestic ritual" and critiques of "compulsory heterosexuality." Recommended for academic libraries serving upper-division undergraduates through faculty. J. W. Hall; University of Mississippi
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