In the opening chapter of God Help the Child, Sweetness regards her newborn daughter, Lula Ann, with disgust for the darkness of her skin, many shades darker than her own and so much darker than her father’s that it leads to marital suspicion and eventual abandonment. Lulu Ann is not just black but ‘blue-black’, and Sweetness’s feelings emanate from fear of all that her child will have to contend with. Yet this, the source of so much historical shame, and blame, between past mothers and daughters, is reconfigured in contemporary America. Lula-Ann reinvents herself, in adult life, as ‘Bride’, an ambitious businesswoman working in cosmetics, not only in control of her life but also traffic-stoppingly beautiful. ‘Everywhere I went I got double takes but not like the faintly disgusted ones I used to get as a kid. These were adoring looks, stunned but hungry.’
Follow Literary Review on Twitter
To aefintyr and beyond… I've reviewed Stephen Taylor's wonderful Sons of the Waves: The Common Seaman in the Heroic Age of Sail 1740–1840 for @Lit_Review https://literaryreview.co.uk/come-hell-high-water.
June is here, and so is the new issue of Literary Review.
In this month's cover article, Alexander Watson looks at revolutions in Germany and Russia, and asks why the year 1918 was such an 'extraordinary historical moment'.