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
For #InternationalTranslationDay, a poem from @Lit_Review earlier in the year.
This 'jaunty narrative raises fundamental questions about the role of popular history. Should this just be a matter of telling tales, as the general public often seems to think?'
@DrLRoach weighs up Charles Spencer's account of the White Ship Disaster.
'Amis clearly belongs to the do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do school of pedagogy. More or less everything he says is demonstrably contradicted by elements of his own work, be they here or elsewhere.'