From Publishers Weekly
In an unusual testament to the undying power of love, Berry (Redemption Song; The Haunting of Hip-Hop) builds her third novel around the sexual reawakening of a middle-aged couple. When Jim, in his early 60s, and Louella, in her late 50s, begin to experience a downturn in their love life, Louella is visited by dreams of ancestors bearing advice on how to rekindle the flames. A marathon-length spell of torrid sex ensues and is followed by even more miraculous developments: Jim and Louella learn to read minds, becoming privy to the secret pain, frustration and vanity of the inhabitants of their small country town. Their strange transformation leads them on a magic-realist journey into the heart of their community, allowing them to stoke long-dead or dwindling sexual fires, end jealousies and destroy ancient fears. Berry's lack of pretension and focus on the humorous side of redemption make her daring premise work. Communicating a belief that all people are inherently good and that negativity is but a manifestation of buried pain the novel works both as an entertaining narrative and a parable of love. The informal "remedies" include a focus on the individual ("Everybody gotta do what works for them"), homespun metaphors ("sadness and pain can creep on you like a weed takes over a yard") and moments of revelation that stress admitting flaws in oneself and then eliminating them ("Lord, help my brother here to be strong, and then Lord, show him where he's wrong"). Extremely sexually explicit at turns, the novel is perhaps not for the prudish; but the book, for all its sexual content, isn't really about sex: it's about how cultivating a spiritual life improves not only sexual experience, but all aspects of human existence. (Aug. 13)
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Jim and Louella Parsons live in a small Georgia town where everyone knows each other's business. After 26 years of marriage, husband and wife are so comfortable with one another that they are having difficulty keeping the fire in their love life. Louella calls on her ancestors Aunt T, Grandma, and Sadie for love guidance, and is instructed to follow a five-day regimen that sparks three days of lovemaking. Jim and Louella emerge with an awesome discovery--they can intuit the troubles of their neighbors and even help others with their love issues. They become more than just the talk of the town as folks from all over begin to seek their counsel. Eventually the couple learns their gift has descended to them through Jim's family and that this type of heart fixing has been going on for centuries. Berry has written another thought-provoking and entertaining novel about love and the power of the heart. Lillian LewisCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved