I found this book startling on so many levels - the emotional honesty about the characters, the intellectual honesty about race, the sheer fascination of Tweet's description of her youth and Cornelia's struggle to come back from alienation, the extraordinary vividness of the prose. The writer takes a big risk in making her own role explicit, but the pay-off at the end is tremendous. Just a great book.
The author becomes another character -- or maybe the readers do -- because we end up standing beside the author as she reflects on what she's written and what choices the characters are exercising or will be forced to do. Probably one of the more honest confrontations of the incipient rage crawling under the skin of any people forced to live in a system that consistently steps on them -- and Tweet's rage seems all the more understandable when she finally expresses it to the white person who has been, for the most part, fairly decent to her (her white employer). Swallowed like a lump is Cornelia's guilt over killing her husband, softly, with her words. Book worth re-reading, both for narrative sophistication, but also for graceful, exact use of language.
Another, older, look at the relationship between white women and their colored maids in the Jim Crow South. Then take it a little further and call it a book about women period. The style of the book is like nothing I've ever read before and the author is unfamiliar to me, but she must be really something to have come up with this motif!
I felt that this book was somewhat disjointed and lost its way somewhere in the middle. However, the author rallies and has a walloping ending that really doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but at least is interesting. Not a pass along book for me however.