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Lita: A Novel Paperback – May 25, 2004

4.1 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This muddled sequel to Dead Above Ground opens when the protagonist of the first book, Lita Du Champ, is summoned back to New Orleans after a decade in Los Angeles when she learns that her father is dying. Tervalon presents a jumbled series of flashbacks, introducing secondary characters at a rapid-fire rate while providing precious little background for readers unfamiliar with Dead Above Ground. The upshot of the flashbacks is that Lita's family is in chaos. Her mother is long dead, killed in a fire set by the man who killed Lita's sister Adele. Lita, married to Winston, a mechanic, takes in her younger twin sisters, Ava and Ana. As the twins grow up in Los Angeles, Ava becomes unmanageable and runs away to Las Vegas to get married at the tender age of 17. Lita's response to this sort of trouble is to grab a broom and lash out with it-some of her encounters with family members verge on the slapstick. Once the novel finally settles in the present, it is disorganized and incomplete, flitting from one subplot to the next. In the mawkish, over-the-top climax, Lita and her twin sisters band together to banish their mother's ghost from her old house, which Lita has inherited. Lita, a black woman who can pass as white but often chooses not to, is an intriguing if cartoonish character, and Tervalon's tone is refreshingly unsentimental, but his unfocused approach leads to a severe case of sequelitis.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

This sequel of sorts to Dead above Ground (2000) is rife with noir-tinged, old-fashioned intrigue. It begins, appropriately, at 4 a.m., as transplanted L.A. resident Lita Du Champ is woken by a ringing phone. Her aunt has called with word that Lita's father is near death. This provokes a rush of ambivalent emotions, for, as Lita tells the reader at the outset, "I had detested him all my life." More unsettling still is the news that Lita's mother, dead for a decade, has been spotted on the streets of New Orleans. Hoping to sort through a haze of confusion, Lita heads off to Louisiana to confront the ghosts of her past. This, as you'd expect, is where things begin to get even weirder. Lita tells her story in the same gritty, first-person voice that readers of the earlier novel will remember; she is wise and often funny. Avoiding the flowery prose and lame metaphors that often shatter the mood of noir fiction, Tervalon turns out an atmospheric winner. Kevin Canfield
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Washington Square Press; Reprint edition (May 25, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743448855
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743448857
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,476,103 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Dana Y. Bowles VINE VOICE on April 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
In this sequel to Dead Above Ground, we revisit the dysfunctional Du Champ family. Lita Du Champ has relocated with her family to Los Angeles. Following the death of her mother at the hands of her sister Adele's killer, Lita has assumed responsibility for her younger twin siblings, Ana and Ava. All is well until the twins seem to grow up overnight...with Ava displaying a more mature and womanly body than her twin. What follows is a rift between the girls, as Lita struggles to maintain control over her seemingly unmanageable younger sister. When Ava elopes at the age of 17 to escape the rigid household that sister Lita runs, it is just the beginning of an entire series of difficult events. Lita's husband Winston has become intolerable--for no reason at all---and it is all Lita can do to keep from physically harming him. Then the call comes that Lita's hated father Doc is in his last days.....and her mother, dead for years, is said to still be inhabiting the old family home.

With actions bordering on unbelievable and a whole host of unlikeable characters, this sequel is no happier than its predecessor. However, there is just enough going on in this tale to keep the reader turning pages to reach the unbelievable conclusion.

DYB
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Format: Paperback
I throughly enjoyed "Lita" by Jervey Tervalon. It's the kind of gritty, yet dream-like novel that takes you right into the character's lives and still haunts you long after the last word is read. Also, I loved the heroine, Lita Du Champ; she's the kind of flawed character who shows so much fierce fortitude, that she's not only likable in her harshness, but also relatable.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I eagerly awaited the sequel to dead above ground and I am more pleased than when I read Dead Above Ground. Lita is the story of Lita Duchamp. After leaving New Orleans, Lita and husband Winnston moved to L.A. in hope of a dream life. Her twin sisters were her burden to bear, until Ava, the big busted dream woman than attracted men like flies to spoiled milk, ran off and married, and Ana, the flat chested boyish twin was taken off by Lita's aunt. Lita was summoned back to New Orleans by her Aunt Dot and her dead mother Helen, and the saga begins. The story takes a lot of twists and unexpected turns and will be sure to entertain you. The writing is like prose, beautiful and heart-warming and you will want to jump inside the book to experience the sights and sounds of N'awlins. This is a MUST READ!!! Get it now!!!
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By Ms. Renee on March 31, 2006
Format: Paperback
this book was just o-kay. i read dead above ground some time ago so when raeding this sequel, the family's story was not as fresh in my mind as it could have been. i reccommend that if this book is read that one should read both books shortly afterwards each other.
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