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Mama Day

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Overview

Miranda Day, known as Mama Day, is the elderly matriarch of Willow Springs, a small sea island off the southeast coast of the United States. Mama Day finds herself pitted in mortal combat with dark forces that threaten the body and soul of her beloved great-niece, Cocoa, who has gone "mainside" and married an urban northerner. Mama Day will use her ancient knowledge of herbal medicine and her judicious but dangerous use of magical powers in this bitter struggle.

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Overview

Miranda Day, known as Mama Day, is the elderly matriarch of Willow Springs, a small sea island off the southeast coast of the United States. Mama Day finds herself pitted in mortal combat with dark forces that threaten the body and soul of her beloved great-niece, Cocoa, who has gone "mainside" and married an urban northerner. Mama Day will use her ancient knowledge of herbal medicine and her judicious but dangerous use of magical powers in this bitter struggle.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The beauty of Naylor's prose is its plainness, and the secret power of her third novel is that she does not simply tell a story but brings you face to face with human beings living through the complexity, pain and mystery of real life. But Mama Day is a black story as well as a human story, which is, paradoxically, what makes it such an all-encompassing experience. A young black couple meet in New York and fall in love. Ophelia (``Cocoa'') is from Willow Island, off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia but part of neither state, and George is an orphan who was born and raised in New York. Every August, Cocoa visits her grandmother Abigail and great-aunt Miranda (``Mama Day'') back home. The lure of New York and the magic of home and Mama Day's folk medicines and mystical powers pull at the couple and bring about unforeseen, yet utterly believable, changes in them and their relationship. Naylor interweaves three simple narratives,Cocoa and George alternately tell about their relationship, while a third-person narrative relates the story of Mama Day and Willow Island. The plot is simple; the mystical events of the novel's second part throw a retrospective glow across the more unprepossessing first part, revealing a cornucopia of spiritual and religious themes throughout. Naylor's (The Women of Brewster Place, Linden Hills) skills as a teller of tales are equal to her philosophical and moral aims.The rhythmic alternation of voices and locales here has a narcotic effect that inspires trust and belief in both Mama Day and Naylor herself, who illustrates with convincing simplicity and clear-sighted intelligence the magical interconnectedness of people with nature, with God and with each other. $100,000 ad/promo; Literary Guild selection; author tour. (February 22)
Library Journal
Willow Springs is a sparsely populated sea island just off America's southeastern coast whose small black community is dominated by the elderly matriarch, Miranda ``Mama'' Day. When Mama Day's greatniece, Cocoa, marries, she returns to Willow Springs with her husband for an extended visit. Once there, strange forcesboth natural and supernaturalwork to separate the couple. After visiting the menacing Ruby, a local root doctor, Cocoa becomes dangerously ill, and the struggle for her life showcases Naylor's talent for descriptive prose. Though the novel as a whole fairly breathes with life, it is marred by the unintentionally comic death of a major character, who is attacked by a vicious chicken. This farm boy was not convinced. Laurence Hull, Cannon Memorial Lib., Concord, N.C.
The Los Angeles Times
"Naylor has a dazzling sense of humour, rich comic observation and that indefinable quality we call 'art.'" -- Rita Mae Brown
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780394256252
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/28/1993
  • Series: Contemporaries Series

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 10 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(7)

4 Star

(2)

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(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 18, 2013

    a great read

    I think Naylor is one of America's most under-rated writers. This story captures a culture unknown to most of us but the story draws us in and involves us almost immediately. It has a love story, a coming of age story, magic realism, and family and community struggles. It asks you to think about what is important, even as you laugh out loud at the silly things we do. I frequently share this book with reading groups and it is always a favorite.

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  • Posted February 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    So Worth Reading

    I just loved this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2003

    Great Book!

    I read this book for a women's fiction class and I loved it. The relationship between George and Cocoa and the mystical forces kept me interested the whole way through the novel because i wanted to know what was going to happen next. There are some very wierd occurences, but they make the book more interesting....and they kept me thinking about what happened long after I had finished reading it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2000

    My All-Time Favorite!

    I've read a lot of books by the current crop of black authors but nothing has touched me and made me fall totally in love with a book like Mama Day. This book was brilliant and I couldn't put it down until it was over. A good book is one of those books that you're actually sad when it's over. That was Mama Day for me. I have not read a book that comes close to it yet and I probably never will. If you have to read this book for school or a book club, I hope you enjoy it. If you want a book that is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, this book is a MUST READ!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2000

    This book is full of magic realism and supernatural events.

    This book is great. It took a while to read, but it is good, and I would recommend that anyone to read it.

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    Posted September 9, 2010

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    Posted May 30, 2011

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    Posted October 22, 2008

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    Posted July 23, 2010

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    Posted October 31, 2008

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