and I can’t even begin to put my finger on how the book will end.
Let me start with the characters. Jerome, the oldest of the Belsey children made a fool of himself with his first real love, Victoria Kipps. Zora, the middle Belsey child, is brilliant, articulate, and loves a fight but hasn’t quite settled into her sense of a woman. Levi, the youngest of the Belsey brew lives a double life as a urban, hip-hop, down in the hood vs. the very liberal, academic, surburban life that his family has made. The parents are Howard and Kiki…Howard is a white Englishman from a poor working class background who is a liberal, very liberal, academic in the Humanities. Kiki, his wife of 30 years, is a nurse from the Southern U.S. and they live in a small northern college town where Howard teaches.
The Kipps family are the antithesis to the Belseys. A English family by way of Jamaica and very religious and conservative. Monty Kipps, the patriarch of this brew has landed a position at the liberal university where Howard teaches. And is cunning and clever…his delivery at the staff meeting was challenging…had me confused about who and what gets defined as conservative/liberal.
As I stated in my previous post, this story is about betrayal on so many levels of human existence. The spontaneous accidents that tether on chaos has kept me in the dark where this is all going to lead. I’m hanging back on the end. Why? Because Smith introduces me to such strange characters and a world that I could not know, but somewhere along the line I find them odd, I hate them and then love them that I don’t want to close the book on them. I wish I could just pick up the telephone and tell Howard just what I think or just ask Carlene Kipps, Monty’s wife, what in the hell is wrong? Or sit across from Claire (another supporting character) and roll my eyes when she says something that she thinks is deep. Even though the world that Smith writes about is so distant from my own, in both the novels that I’ve read by her I get inside the story and begin writing my own dialogue…you know how people talk to the tv screen when watching sports or a movie just as if they can be heard? That would be me with this book.
I guess tonight I’ll go ahead and knock it out.