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Waiting in Vain: A Novel Mass Market Paperback – February 4, 2003

451 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Representing a figure all too rare in contemporary romance, African American A.J. "Fire" Heath, a sensitive, sophisticated man with a good career, is a major asset to this appealing first novel by short-story writer Channer. Fire's combination of good looks, kindness and brains, and his desire to find the right woman "in the fullness of time," will make him nearly irresistible to readers of commercial fiction. A painter and novelist who has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize, Fire shuttles between his native Jamaica, London and New York. In a chance encounter on a Brooklyn street, Fire meets Sylvia, another transplanted Jamaican, who is disappointed with her magazine-editing job and her art-dealer lover. Fire and Sylvia pursue and retreat from each other in convincingly soul-searching scenarios while Channer vividly describes urban New York, industrial Brixton and rural Jamaica. Channer has a fine ear for Jamaican patois (and for when it bubbles up in otherwise American-accented conversations). Also to his credit, Channer largely resists the trendy name-dropping and product placements so common in this genre. Subplots of intrigue in the African American art world add substance without detracting from the pace. As readers in the know will recognize, this tale of continent-hopping romance takes its title from a Bob Marley song. Author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Jamaican author and poet Adrian Heath, a.k.a. Fire, has a "love at first sight" experience when he sees a woman with daisy buttons having trouble with her packages in New York. They flirt, thinking they will never meet again, but later end up at the house of a mutual friend, an artist named Ian. Sylvia is involved with another man, which breaks Fire's heart and sends him back to London. But neither of them can let their attraction end, and later they have a dangerous affair. Ian's love-hate relationships with Fire, his mother, and women in general become the catalyst for the rest of the story. First novelist Channer reveals his characters' idiosyncrasies in poetic description. The dialog, full of Jamaican slang, takes a little getting used to, but the culture and backdrop are so finely scripted that readers will feel they are in Jamaica. Sensuous and sometimes outrageous love scenes interspersed with the stirring emotions of the characters keep the pages turning to the very end. Fans of romance and psychological drama will enjoy this passionate and honest story; highly recommended.?Shirley Gibson Coleman, Ann Arbor Dist. Lib., MI
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: One World/Ballantine; Reprint edition (February 4, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345430123
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345430120
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (451 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,370,516 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Uchenna C. Ikonne on December 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
I hope it doesn't sound swinish of me to say that this book is really, REALLY aimed at women.
At first, I thought I liked the book, but the more I think about it, I realize that I really don't. Its protagonist, Fire, is the sort of perfect man that a lot of women like to fantasize about: handsome, smart, educated, funny, talented, always , always sensitive... Therein lies the problem. The man has no apparent faults. Even when he's in bed with another man's girlfriend and the boyfriend walks up to the door, all he can think about is that if he spends the night, he'll be depriving this man of a bed to sleep in! I mean, that's a good attitude, but how realistic is it? And how interesting to read? I kept waiting for Fire to mess up, to act like a normal human being so we could see some conflict, some test of character, but it never came. He never became Clark Kent, was always Superman.
On the other hand, the charcater Ian is a lot more vulnerable and sympathetic, but Channer treats him with something akin to contempt, showing the author's simple-minded sense of good and evil. Channer has stressed that this book is not one of those "African-American relationship novels," and I agree. While Waiting in Vain is more erudite in its prose style (if a bit overdone), it doesn't even have the complexity of a "relationship" novel. I'd classify among those romance novels that feature a shirtless Fabio on the cover.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By RoniLynn on November 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
First of all, I'd just like to thank Colin Channer for giving me hope in knowing that men can be sensitive and that they do have feelings and that they do, and can, want to have a meaningful relationship with one woman.
Colin's character Fire was able to convey his feelings verbally and on paper. I found myself wanting to find a man like that for myself. Although Fire was fictional I completed that book knowing that there is someone out there with at least a few of his characteristics.
Waiting In Vain was more than a boy-meets-girl love story. It explored some tough issues in regards to the type of people we give our hearts to. I saw some of myself in Sylvia, Fire's love interest. It was more than a designer-name dropping novel that has flooded the African-American book market. I was truly entertained and realized that reading a good book is about what the words are saying to your mind and to your heart.
I am so amazed and in awe of Colin's abilities to express himself with the written word. I want to run to the grocery store to buy some mangoes and I definitely want to plan a trip to Jamaica. And that's another thing. I enjoyed the diferent locales, something you don't find in other books. Colin is so doggone talented I am mad at him for not writing a book sooner. Oh,to be in love with a man like Fire! Colin was able to convey the message of love without sugarcoating it and making the reader think it was easy. I couldn't read enough pages fast enough. That book was always the first thing I picked up when I came through the door from work and it was the last thing I reluctantly put down when I went to sleep. I hated for the book to end. When it did end, I had a huge smile on my face. I am not giving up on love, that's what that smile meant.
This was an excellent read. I recommend this to both women and men who are searching for that special someone.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Erica on October 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
As I start to write this review, I am worried that I will not find the words to adequately express how much I loved this book! I have read books where I have loved and rooted for characters as friends. This was the first time I saw myself and my thoughts in characters, and felt understood. It was great to read about characters who were well-traveled, enjoyed learning, loved music and books, yet were down to earth.
Waiting in Vain is a beautifully poetic novel about love, loss, self-discovery, and fulfillment. Mr. Channer provides emotional and academic stimulation; he also touches on class and political issues. I was so engrossed with sitting in on the lives, feeling the breeze, and tasting the fruits that I forgot I was reading.
The book also gave me hope, in that if a man could write with such passion, love, and sensitivity there is a chance I will find my fire. Buy this book! You will not regret it, most likely you will thank me.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 18, 1999
Format: Paperback
I had gotten away from reading some of the black relationship books simply because the experiences, first of all, were not mine or ones that I could accept as the inevitable as black relationships go. I've done myself a disservice in some respects having read some pretty shallow writers. One reviewer said she had no intention of buying this book as was the case with me. I just wasn't in the mood for another "woman-with-no-clue -what-she-wants-man-with-only-one-agenda story. Fire jumpstarted the idea in my mind that there are sensitive black men out there who are differently defined and are able to express themselves and love with respect. I enjoyed the book, not so much for the vivid Jamaican imagery, but because it reminded me again that we're all looking for something special. I was glad to see Fire and Sylvia find that in each other. I look forward to the depth of this kind of writing in more of our black writers out there! Thanks to my friend Shanta, who introduced me to Waiting in Vain!
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