Loving This Man by Althea Prince (Insomniac Press), 216 pages, $19.95 paper. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Althea Prince (ladies of the Night And Other Stories, Being Black) has long been a relentless soldier sparking inquiries into the ways race, class and gender merge to shape the lives of those living within the African Diaspora. Prince's latest novel, Loving This Man, uses the battlefield of love to take her investigations one step further.
Set in Antigua, the first book of the novel, Reevah's Song, juxtaposes three sisters' romantic -- and not so romantic -- encounters with men. We're introduced to Reevah Livingston, who bonds with her daughter, Sayshelle, by reminiscing about the joy she had when her husband was still alive. In the meantime, Juniper Berry sacrifices her marriage to pursue passion with her soulmate, Clifford. And then there's Sage, who, unlike her siblings, lacks a romantic story to tell about the men who've left her abused, with four children, in poverty.
The novel's second book, Song Of Sayshelle, marks the narrative journey from third-person to first-person. Young Sayshelle, filled with her mother's idyllic notions of love, leaves Antigua for Toronto, where she finds herself in a marriage marred by deception. Even with this change of point of view -- from "she" to "I" -- we crave a more strongly drawn character to anchor a novel full of arresting statements about the challenges faced by women who are "twice undervalued."
Brimming with intriguing events, Loving This Man lacks the gritty details and descriptions that would ease our entry into the lives of its characters. Luckily, in a novel dripping with references to the devastating effects of colonialism, Prince manages to create magnificent clouds of humour to periodically rain upon a terrain of sorrow.Write books at firstname.lastname@example.org