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Open Weave Mass Market Paperback – February 1, 1997

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Vivid, concise descriptions of revelatory moments distinguish major's first novel, which otherwise suffers from lack of narrative momentum. In the Western town of Buttonhole, a small group of friends and family prepares for a birthday party. Awaiting the return of the teenage Imani, who has disappeared with her troubled, pregnant friend, Amanda, are Imani's grandmother, Ernestine More, the blind matriarch known for her powerful beliefs and intricately woven fabrics, and her mother, Iree, who suffers from prophetic but debilitating seizures. Also present are Ernestine's brother, Jeremiah, a local handyman, and two family friends. To pass the time, the would-be partyers tell stories about their pasts and remember Ernestine's son, Ezekiel, who vanished years ago under suspicious circumstances but who remains for Ernestine the bulwark that "shores up a family splintered and stunted." The group also reminisces about the close friendship between Imani and Amanda, who, as she prepares for her baby, must resolve her feelings about having been abandoned by her mother, unacknowledged by her father and left to grow up in others' homes. Iree's climactic vision and Amanda's health crisis abruptly close the narrative, which comes off like a collection of short stories bound together by a plot line that is neither consistently interesting nor clear. Some of these stories are gems, but a less cluttered setting would have made them shine all the more.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

This first novel hones in on the members of an extended African American family?especially the women?and the joys and sorrows that hold them together. Down-to-earth, gritty, and honest, the story shows how these women weather difficult situations by relying on one another for love and support. Although grandmother Ernestine is blind, she has the extraordinary ability to look into a person's soul. Her daughter, Iree, can see into the future during epileptic seizures. And Iree's daughter, Imani, demonstrates wisdom beyond her years as she helps her best friend through a difficult pregnancy. The language in this book has an eloquent, lyrical quality that pulls you right into the story; it's not surprising that Major is a poetry teacher and editor. Highly recommended for academic and public libraries.?Lisa Nussbaum, Euclid P.L., Ohio
Copyright 1995 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
  • Publisher: Berkley; Reprint edition (February 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425156656
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425156650
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 0.7 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,418,719 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By R. Smith on June 24, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'm very surprised that no one else has reviewed this book...but then again, it is an obscure work by a relatively unknown author.

I first read "An Open Weave" many years ago and it was pure poetry. Devorah Major's style is somewhat similar to Toni Morrison's.

Imani, the main character, is a self-assured girl on the brink of womanhood. She is the third generation in a long line of African American matriarchs. Both her mother and grandmother have medical issues but they also possess supernatural powers. Despite growing up without a father, she is surrounded by love. In stark contrast with Imani is her best friend since childhood, Amanda, a mixed-race girl from a broken home.

Amanda is shy, insecure, and scared when she discovers that she is pregnant at only 16. She is a runaway with a history of abuse and abandonment. Instead of celebrating her seventeenth birthday with her family, Imani decides to help her friend come to terms with the pregnancy.

"An Open Weave" is an understated, underrated novel about Black women trying to find their voices in an oppressive world. Major writes with such lyrical imagery that you can close your eyes and imagine each character as an actual person. It is heavy on symbolism and magical realism. You can't help but like Imani because of her refreshingly honest approach to life and her wisdom for one so young. It is also difficult to not feel Amanda's pain and uncertainty as a young woman struggling with issues that no child should have to deal with. Because even at her age, she is still a little girl who needs guidance and comfort.

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys African American or Caribbean fiction.
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