By the Light of My Father's Smile

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Overview

A family from the United States goes to the remote Sierras in Mexico - the writer-to-be, Susannah; her sister, Magdalena; her father and mother. And there, amid an endangered band of mixed-race Blacks and Indians called the Mundo, they begin an encounter that will change them more than they could ever dream. Moving back and forth in time, and among unforgettable characters and their stories, Walker crosses conventional borders of all kinds as she explores in this magical novel the ways in which a woman's denied ...
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By the Light of My Father's Smile: A Novel

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Overview

A family from the United States goes to the remote Sierras in Mexico - the writer-to-be, Susannah; her sister, Magdalena; her father and mother. And there, amid an endangered band of mixed-race Blacks and Indians called the Mundo, they begin an encounter that will change them more than they could ever dream. Moving back and forth in time, and among unforgettable characters and their stories, Walker crosses conventional borders of all kinds as she explores in this magical novel the ways in which a woman's denied sexuality leads to the loss of the much prized and necessary original self; and how she regains that self, even as her family's past of lies and love is transformed.
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Editorial Reviews

Colleen Sell
It is sexualiy that takes center stage in By the Light of My Father's Smile. Normally showing rather than telling, Walker in this book occasionally lapses into almost didactic speech, which made me feel as if I were being lectured to. . . . [It] is a magical celebration of the human spirit that speaks eloquently about the rarely explored role of fathers in the sexual and spiritual well-being of their female children. -- Biblio Magazine
Washington Post
[A] stunning, original, and important book by one of the best American writers of today.
Francine Prose
What's so dismaying. . .about By the Light of My Father's Smile is Alice Walker's apparent assumption that her only job is to serve as a cheerleader for Eros. . . .let it be someone else's tedious duty to nurture and encourage her readers' love and respect for language. —The New York Times Book Review
Richard Bernstein
[Walker] is exhausting her readers with what has by now become a mannered and tendentious litany of New Age cliches. . . .Even at the story's most intense moment. . .Ms. Walker fails to create a sense of emotional urgency. . .
New York Times
Library Journal
Reading more like an essay than a novel, this latest work by the prodigious Walker (Anything We Love Can Be Saved, LJ 5/1/97) is an "exploration of sexuality and how society's attitudes toward it have damaged both men and women." (LJ 8/98)
Francine Prose
What's so dismaying. . .about By the Light of My Father's Smile is Alice Walker's apparent assumption that her only job is to serve as a cheerleader for Eros. . . .let it be someone else's tedious duty to nurture and encourage her readers' love and respect for language. -- The New York Times Book Review
The Washington Post
[A] stunning, original, and important book by one of the best American writers of today.
Richard Bernstein
[Walker] is exhausting her readers with what has by now become a mannered and tendentious litany of New Age cliches. . . .Even at the story's most intense moment. . .Ms. Walker fails to create a sense of emotional urgency. . . -- The New York Times
Kirkus Reviews
Another idiosyncratic novel from Walker (Possessing the Secret of Joy), moving and puzzling by turns. Ostensibly about the search of Susannah, a successful novelist, to come to terms with her past, the book often reads more like a series of mournful lectures about the ravages inflicted on the planet, and on women, by the white patriarchy. Susannah has been fortunate enough to spend much of her childhood among the Mundo, a deeply spiritual tribe in the Sierra Madres, descendants of Mexican Indians and escaped slaves. Susannah and her sister Magdalena are taken to live with the Mundo by their parents, enthusiastic amateur anthropologists, partly to allow the family, who are African-Americans, to escape some of the violence visited on blacks in 1950s America. Susannah takes a nurturing sense of spirituality from her stay with the Mundo. Her sister, Magdalena, however, is badly scarred by the manner of their leaving: Discovering that the adolescent Magdalena has taken a Mundo boy as a lover, her father beats her and sweeps his family back to the States. The novel, narrated in the voices of a number of characters (living and dead), follows Susannah and Magdalena's varying paths: the writer Susannah takes lovers and restlessly searches for enlightenment; the self-destructive Magdalena becomes an academic and is only redeemed when she reunites briefly with her Mundo lover, though too late to stop her slide toward suicide. Susannah's peace is helped not only by her knowledge of the Mundo but by several ghosts and a wise, elderly Greek woman, a devotee of the old fecund religion of the Goddess. Walker is still a wonderful storyteller, offering a prose of great lucidity, but manyof the characters here seem unbelievably serene and rather one-dimensional, with the discursive tale offering too little action, and too many lectures. An uncomfortable mix of visionary fable and screed.
From the Publisher

"A jubilant novel . . . [An] evocative family tale of love, passion, and forgiveness."
—San Francisco Chronicle

"[THIS] POWERFUL STORY IS ABOUT LOVE, FORGIVENESS, PASSION AND BEING TRUE TO YOURSELF."
—Detroit Free Press

"HUGELY ORIGINAL, BY THE LIGHT OF MY FATHER'S SMILE HAS MORE THAN A HINT OF INCANTATORY MAGIC ABOUT IT. . . . Light explores what happens—to an entire family—when a daughter cannot forgive her father for a single, hypocritical, soul-crushing act. It explores the dangerous bonds of fidelity between sisters, lovers, memories. . . . Walker's language is sensual and at the same time delightfully precise. . . . Political, immodest, astonishing by turns, [this novel] once again demonstrates Walker's gigantic talent."
—The Baltimore Sun

"PROVOCATIVE . . . A BEGUILING STORY OF DIFFICULT FATHER-DAUGHTER BONDS AND STAR-CROSSED LOVERS."
—People

BY THE LIGHT OF MY FATHER'S SMILE "FULFILLS A READER'S NEED FOR WISDOM. . . . WRITTEN IN AT LEAST TWO DIMENSIONS AND ACROSS DECADES."
—Los Angeles Times Book Review

"ALICE WALKER IS A LAVISHLY GIFTED WRITER."
—The New York Times Book Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375501524
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/14/1998
  • Pages: 222
  • Product dimensions: 6.43 (w) x 9.56 (h) x 0.97 (d)

Meet the Author

Alice Walker

Alice Walker won the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award for her novel The Color Purple.  Her other bestselling novels include Possessing the Secret of Joy and The Temple of My Familiar.  She is also the author of two collections of short stories, three collections of essays, five volumes of poetry, and several children's books.  Her books have been translated into more than two dozen languages.  Born in Eatonton, Georgia, Walker now lives in Northern California.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Alice Malsenior Walker (full name)
    2. Hometown:
      Mendocino, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 9, 1944
    2. Place of Birth:
      Eatonton, Georgia
    1. Education:
      B.A., Sarah Lawrence College, 1965; attended Spelman College, 1961-63

Read an Excerpt

When she goes to the city she leaves me lounging in the swing underneath the oak tree. She visualizes me as a shadow, as her car zooms around the curves that take her rapidly down the mountain. She is listening to a music I have not heard in many years. At first I think it is Portuguese fado; then I realize it is flamenco, which is also characterized by passion and profound sadness. She moans along with the woman who is singing-wailing, really-her hands gripping the steering wheel to the plangent cries of the singer and the sobbing of violins. The momentum of her flight sets the old swing to rocking. Her car is old and black. It was another expression of my effort to contact her.

She was not even aware at the time of my death that she missed me. Poor child. She did not cry at my funeral. She was a stoic spectator. Her heart, she thought, was closed. I watched her looking down at me, the father who gave her life, with the passivity of one who has borne all she intends to bear. She did not even bother to smirk as platitudes about me-most of them absurd-filled the church around her. When an especially large falsehood was uttered-that I would never have hurt a fly, for instance-she merely closed her eyes. At the gravesite she clutched the arm of her Greek husband, with his hard curly hair and black mustache, and, leaning as if to whisper in his hairy ear, discreetly yawned.

She did not know of my sorrow, dying. Poor child. How could she know?

That night, eating a pomegranate seed by seed beside the fire, she did not miss me. She felt rather as if something heavy and dark, something she could never explain, had rolled away, off her soul. Shameless, curious, forsakensomehow, I watched her and the Greek husband, late into the night, make love.

The recent stirrings that intimated my presence began with her desire to know about angels. Where they come from in the imagination, why people in all cultures find it difficult if not impossible to live without them. Is the angel in the imagination a memory of a loved one who has died? Is the angel an earth spirit existing in its own right, touching us with the benign blessing and direction of Nature? Why was she dreaming of angels every night?

She and the Greek went to Kalimasa. This was before tourists exhausted the public Kalimasan spirit, and there, everywhere, in everyone's home, flew an angel. Watti-tuus, as they were called. Some of them were simply winged women, with a woman's hands and eyes and feet. But some were winged mermaids, their bronze scales dusted with gold. Some were white as apples; others as brown as shining earth. She was-my daughter, Susannah-enchanted.

The Greek, Petros, was charmed by her passion. I watched as he fed himself full meals from the store of her enthusiasm. She was radiant and sensual. I saw that first time in Kalimasa that she was, as a woman, someone I truly did not know.

Petros bought an angel for her, a watti-tuu, as a surprise. It was a dark-haired, dark-skinned, full-breasted woman, with a belly filled with small people, tiny houses, birds. Its wings were painted shimmering green. She laughed gaily, as she had as a child. She clapped her hands. Joy radiated from her eyes. This was the spirit I had not seen for decades. I recognized it, though. And drew near to it, as if to a fire. I saw her frown, suddenly, as if aware of my shadow, and I hastily and regretfully withdrew.

The second time she went to Kalimasa, Petros did not go. She had lost him back in the States. This time she traveled with a woman who dressed inappropriately for the culture, and wore her bathing suit all day long, and accepted motorcycle rides from the local village males, who were losing their modesty and learning to take whatever pleasure came their way from the shameless tourist women. This woman, though good in bed, so irritated my daughter that she remained in the guest house they shared, day after sultry day, a blue linen sheet drawn taut over her head.

But when she did venture out onto the two streets of the tiny village of Wodra, more touristed than she would have dreamed possible the last time she was there, she did so feeling there was something drawing her. Of course she did not know what it was.

Damp, perspiring, though it was only eight or nine in the morning, she found herself at a jeweler's.
The Kalimasans are famous for their graceful aesthetic sense. For their innate appreciation of balance and proportion. This sense of what is just right can be seen in their architecture, in their canals, in their waterfalls. Even in their hairstyles. It is often said by visitors that everything in their landscape, except the mountains that frame most villages like spectacular stage props, is artificially constructed, yet looks totally natural. The fineness of the Kalimasans' eye is pronounced in the jewelry and clothing they make.
The shop, like all the shops on that end of the street near the restaurant and the river, was quite small.

Only a few feet deep, after you climbed three steep steps up from the road. There were four rows of trinkets: rings, bracelets, necklaces. Nothing costing more than fifty U.S. dollars. Susannah began to try on bracelets, the ones that are made of brass and look a hundred years old, though they might have been made yesterday. And then her eye fell on the ring she'd been looking for without knowing it. Black onyx, an oval shape. Its sides splashed with gold. Though, since the ring cost only eighteen dollars, perhaps the gold was something else. The ring fit her finger perfectly. Happily she paid the young Hindu shopkeeper, continued on her way through the village of Wodra, and was even inspired to go as far as the Elephant Walk, a mile and a half from the village, before giving in to the desire to return to the guest house.

"What is the meaning of this ring?" the woman asked at dinner, in the whining, bossy voice my daughter had come to dread.

"It is beautiful," said Susannah. She raised her hand to her cheek and rested it there. The light from the candle made the gold splashes beside the onyx glow red.

"I wanted to give you a ring for that finger," the woman pouted.

"But I have nine others," said my daughter. "All vacant."
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First Chapter

Chapter One

Angels

When she goes to the city she leaves me lounging in the swing underneath the oak tree. She visualizes me as a shadow, as her car zooms around the curves that take her rapidly down the mountain. She is listening to a music I have not heard in many years. At first I think it is Portuguese fado; then I realize it is flamenco, which is also characterized by passion and profound sadness. She moans along with the woman who is singing--wailing, really--her hands gripping the steering wheel to the plangent cries of the singer and the sobbing of violins. The momentum of her flight sets the old swing to rocking. Her car is old and black. It was another expression of my effort to contact her.

    She was not even aware at the time of my death that she missed me. Poor child. She did not cry at my funeral. She was a stoic spectator. Her heart, she thought, was closed. I watched her looking down at me, the father who gave her life, with the passivity of one who has borne all she intends to bear. She did not even bother to smirk as platitudes about me--most of them absurd--filled the church around her. When an especially large falsehood was uttered--that I would never have hurt a fly, for instance--she merely closed her eyes. At the gravesite she clutched the arm of her Greek husband, with his hard curly hair and black mustache, and, leaning as if to whisper in his hairy ear, discreetly yawned.

    She did not know of my sorrow, dying. Poor child. How could she know?

    That night, eating a pomegranate seed by seed beside the fire, she did not miss me. She felt rather as if something heavy and dark, something she could never explain, had rolled away, off her soul. Shameless, curious, forsaken somehow, I watched her and the Greek husband, late into the night, make love.

    The recent stirrings that intimated my presence began with her desire to know about angels. Where they come from in the imagination, why people in all cultures find it difficult if not impossible to live without them. Is the angel in the imagination a memory of a loved one who has died? Is the angel an earth spirit existing in its own right, touching us with the benign blessing and direction of Nature? Why was she dreaming of angels every night?

    She and the Greek went to Kalimasa. This was before tourists exhausted the public Kalimasan spirit, and there, everywhere, in everyone's home, flew an angel. Watti-tuus, as they were called. Some of them were simply winged women, with a woman's hands and eyes and feet. But some were winged mermaids, their bronze scales dusted with gold. Some were white as apples; others as brown as shining earth. She was--my daughter, Susannah--enchanted.

    The Greek, Petros, was charmed by her passion. I watched as he fed himself full meals from the store of her enthusiasm. She was radiant and sensual. I saw that first time in Kalimasa that she was, as a woman, someone I truly did not know.

    Petros bought an angel for her, a watti-tuu, as a surprise. It was a dark-haired, dark-skinned, full-breasted woman, with a belly filled with small people, tiny houses, birds. Its wings were painted shimmering green. She laughed gaily, as she had as a child. She clapped her hands. Joy radiated from her eyes. This was the spirit I had not seen for decades. I recognized it, though. And drew near to it, as if to a fire. I saw her frown, suddenly, as if aware of my shadow, and I hastily and regretfully withdrew.

    The second time she went to Kalimasa, Petros did not go. She had lost him back in the States. This time she traveled with a woman who dressed inappropriately for the culture, and wore her bathing suit all day long, and accepted motorcycle rides from the local village males, who were losing their modesty and learning to take whatever pleasure came their way from the shameless tourist women. This woman, though good in bed, so irritated my daughter that she remained in the guest house they shared, day after sultry day, a blue linen sheet drawn taut over her head.

    But when she did venture out onto the two streets of the tiny village of Wodra, more touristed than she would have dreamed possible the last time she was there, she did so feeling there was something drawing her. Of course she did not know what it was.

    Damp, perspiring, though it was only eight or nine in the morning, she found herself at a jeweler's.

    The Kalimasans are famous for their graceful aesthetic sense. For their innate appreciation of balance and proportion. This sense of what is just right can be seen in their architecture, in their canals, in their waterfalls. Even in their hairstyles. It is often said by visitors that everything in their landscape, except the mountains that frame most villages like spectacular stage props, is artificially constructed, yet looks totally natural. The fineness of the Kalimasans' eye is pronounced in the jewelry and clothing they make.

    The shop, like all the shops on that end of the street near the restaurant and the river, was quite small. Only a few feet deep, after you climbed three steep steps up from the road. There were four rows of trinkets: rings, bracelets, necklaces. Nothing costing more than fifty U.S. dollars. Susannah began to try on bracelets, the ones that are made of brass and look a hundred years old, though they might have been made yesterday. And then her eye fell on the ring she'd been looking for without knowing it. Black onyx, an oval shape. Its sides splashed with gold. Though, since the ring cost only eighteen dollars, perhaps the gold was something else. The ring fit her finger perfectly. Happily she paid the young Hindu shopkeeper, continued on her way through the village of Wodra, and was even inspired to go as far as the Elephant Walk, a mile and a half from the village, before giving in to the desire to return to the guest house.

    "What is the meaning of this ring?" the woman asked at dinner, in the whining, bossy voice my daughter had come to dread.

    "It is beautiful," said Susannah. She raised her hand to her cheek and rested it there. The light from the candle made the gold splashes beside the onyx glow red.

    "I wanted to give you a ring for that finger," the woman pouted.

    "But I have nine others," said my daughter. "All vacant."

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Reading Group Guide

1. Why do you think Alice Walker chose to write this novel in the voices of several different narrators? Which character's story do you think is the center of the novel? Do you think the use of different voices interrupts the story or enriches it? Does the author succeed in making each voice distinctive? Give examples.

2. The novel underscores the potency of lies and hypocrisy. The web of deceit practiced by the Robinsons, the African American anthropologist couple posing as missionaries and who are unable to find funding for their study of the Mundo tribe, is particularly telling on this point. How does the irony of their masquerade as "puritanical Christians" play into the tragedy at the novel's center?

3. Alice Walker says the book "examines the way imposed religion almost always acts to inhibit and harden the heart of those who would instinctively love." Is she referring to the rigid dogma of institutional religion and its condemnation of the pursuit of sensual pleasure? If so, what instances in this novel are used to explore this theme?

4. One recurring theme in the novel is the corruption of indigenous spiritual beliefs by Western civilization. How does Walker's handling of this idea affect the novel's storytelling?

5. The psychological approaches employed by both daughters to master the emotional trauma of Magdalena's beating illuminates the differences in their personalities. Why would Magdalena choose emotional repression and excesses of eating and drinking as her route to emotional comfort, instead of pursuing the more sexually experimental path of her sister, Susannah? Compare and contrast the two situations.

6. How responsible is Mr.Robinson for the life choices of his daughter? At what point does a child or adult become accountable for choices made in life despite parental miscues and the tragedies of the past? In what ways are these questions central to the novel?

7. Recalling the sexual conduct of the Robinsons and their daughter, can you conclude that sex possesses spiritual and redemptive qualities? Can it be used to heal emotional wounds and to enhance one's personal growth?

8. Some critics have interpreted Walker's statement of "celebrating one's sexuality" as one of this novel's key themes and an embrace of lesbianism and repudiation of traditional heterosexuality and patriarchal influences. Do you agree or disagree with this contention? If so, does Walker make an effective case to support this view?

9. How is the depiction of the Mundo tribe, with their celebration of sexuality, nature, and community, an essential element in highlighting the hypocrisy of the Robinsons and all they represent? How does this presentation of the tribe cause a conflict of faith and conscience for Mr. Robinson and his wife?

10. The theme of the abusive father, the healing, loving sexual relationship with another woman, and the quest of two sister s for emotional and spiritual liberation from the patriarchal oppression of a dominant male appears also in Walker's award-winning novel, The Color Purple. If you have read The Color Purple, explain how the plight of Celie and Nettie in this earlier novel is similar yet different from the dilemma of Magdalena and Susannah.

11. In The Color Purple, the theme of reclaiming one's sexual freedom as a major step in achieving sexual power, emotional wholeness, and spiritual autonomy plays a critical part in the story. How do these same issues emerge in this later work? And what is their significance?

12. Why might some readers not be totally sensitive to Magdalena's self abuse and ultimate suicide by gluttony in the wake of the harsh childhood treatment by her father? Why might we be tempted to say, "Get off it and get on with your life"? And might not this attitude reflect our fear of examining the places we have been hurt and our lack of compassion for our own suffering?

13. Explain the importance of the following words of Manuelito, the Mundo tribesman: "It is understood that spirituality resides in the groin, in the sexual organs. Not in the mind, and not in the heart." In what ways does this statement reveal one of the major themes of the novel? And how comfortable are we when we discover that another culture's take on Existence or Meaning is entirely different than our own?

14. Susannah's marriage with Petros the Greek and her affair with Pauline serve as mirror images of the heroine's approach to finding spiritual and emotional growth and sexual satisfaction. How does the author set up the parallel of the two unions as portraits of Susannah's struggle for completion? Does her approach succeed?

15. Like the deeply wounded father, Mister, in The Color Purple, who becomes transformed and healed through the love of a child, Mr. Robinson, as an angel in the afterlife, becomes an agent for change and healing in this novel. Why is his intervention so crucial to Susannah's healing?

16. Some reviewers found that the author's use of spiritual realism draws attention away from the events and distances readers from the characters. Do you share their view? Why or why not?

17. Walker's novels often explore the usefulness of suffering. What is she saying with the statement: "Why is it that we can love so much that which only makes use cry?" How does this view apply to the Robinson daughters?

18. What is the irony of Manuelito, Magdalena's childhood love, serving as Mr. Robinson's spirit guide? How does Manuelito's indigenous wisdom serve to temper the father's conservative "civilized" beliefs?

19. The pleasure in reading Walker's complex novels can be found in experiencing secondary characters such as the cigarette-smoking dwarf, Irene. What is the importance of Irene and her relationship with Susannah?

20. As the core of the novel is the pressing question of the treatment of daughters by fathers. What fuels the fears of fathers that their teenage daughters might develop their sexuality? Compare and contrast that treatment by fathers and its affect on young girls in later life with the treatment of boys and their emergence into manhood.

21. The repeating of the Mundo initiation song occurs often in the novel. Why is it important that Mr. Robinson learn and practice this song after he is dead? What do you think is the meaning of the verse: Anyone can see that the sky is naked and if the sky is naked the earth must be naked too.

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2004

    A powerful read, deeply moving.

    By the Light of My Father's Smile is a story about a family, a broken family. It is the story of Susannah, Magdalena, and their mother and father and of how one act of betrayal from father to daughter splintered this family's love and trust of each other. I found myself deeply involved with the characters and I was able to connect to Susannah (who is constantly searching for new experiences as if she can never be satisfied) and with Magdelena (whose obesity hides the fact that she feels very vulnerable, small and weak to the world). Though at times, I found the story a bit hard to follow because of the different narrators, the story is beautifully written with rich dialogue that evokes the sense of being in Mexico, in the Mundo village, or in Greece or any of the other settings from which the characters tell this tale. The story is deeply sensual telling of Susannah and sexual escapades with both men and women, the mother and father and their deep love and passion which sustained their marriage through the worst of times, and of Magdelena and Manuelito, and the delicious sweetness of first love, both physical and emotional. It is also a story of how important it is to forgive those who have wronged us so that we may be whole and not carry our wounds with us onto death. There are many themes in this book, most noteworthy, the importance of fathers to their daughters sexual well-being, societal views on sex that are hypocritical and damaging to both sexes, and the value of being true to self and at peace with yourself. We are able to go with each of the characters through this story, their individual journeys, learning from their experiences and their mistakes.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2007

    A reviewer

    I find it a disappointment that such a talented author like Alice Walker finds it nesecery to include so much graphic XXX. The book contains too much XXX and some of it is lesbian. No one wants to read about graphic 'female' XXX. The book has otential without the graphic parts. XXX in TV,ads, internet....give me a break

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2006

    Graphic lesbian sexuality, Not for children to read!

    I was introduced to this book via my 11 yr. old daughter. She checked this book out of her school library because of the title. Her father has recently passed away and she was interested in the book because of the title. How it ever made the shelves of the middle school library is beyond me! I was shocked and mortified upon reading even the first chapter. Shame on Alice Walker! I am soooo glad that as a parent, I started reading this book first! I have begun to make sure that this book is not on any school shelves ever!! It belongs in a xxx Adult bookstore as it is very graphic. Alice should have written in somewhere at the beginning of this book that it is NOT for children. It has taught me as a parent to scan what my children bring home from the school library.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2005

    dang, ms. walker--what happened?

    Where's the feminine genius that composed The Color Purple and Possessing the Secret of Joy? Check this out you all: a father and his family go to Mexico to teach this tribe,the Mundo, about God but this ends up in disaster--the daughter Magdalena falls in love with a Mundo boy named Manuelito and copulates with him and her dad punishes her she becomes his enemy. Years later they are all messed up in the substratum but try to hide it. It's magical and all but she could have fixed the ending just a bit--that's why she lost a star and the book held my attention until that part. Better luck next novel.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2002

    Big Let Down

    I really did not like this book at all. I am an avid reader and a tremendous Alice Walker fan but this book was a huge disappointment. I found it circuitous and unbelievable, even for Walker. Unlike her prior works, nothing in this novel resonated with me. I was not able to go past page 50 and I've never had any desire to complete this book. Shame on you Walker.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2000

    This book is in my top 5 books ever

    I love this book. It flows and comforts me like Song Of Solomon and Their Eyes Were Watching God. This is a must read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2000

    This book disappointed me

    This book didn't really appeal to me. I found it wordy and as one of the other reviewers stated New Agey. I found it superficial and although I tried I couldn't find an ounce of sincerity in it. After reading 'The Color Purple' it was a great let down

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2000

    A work of beauty

    This novel again screams out the talent of Walker. As is typical with Walker, every visit to this book is rewarding, moving and insightful. I have gone back to various excerpts, chapters, and the complete novel several times already...and I don't regret anything other than not having enough time to be reading it right now!

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