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Mojo: Conjure Stories
     

Mojo: Conjure Stories

by Nalo Hopkinson, Luisah Teish (Introduction)
 

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When enslaved people were brought from the western part of Africa to the Americas, they were forbidden to speak their native languages or practice their religions in the New World.

Overview

When enslaved people were brought from the western part of Africa to the Americas, they were forbidden to speak their native languages or practice their religions in the New World.

Editorial Reviews

bn.com
The Barnes & Noble Review
Mojo -- a powerful, disturbing anthology edited by Nalo Hopkinson that explores the world of voodoo -- contains short stories by some of the biggest names in modern fantasy, including Neil Gaiman, Barbara Hambly, Steven Barnes, Andy Duncan, and Tananarive Due. Although the stories explore the myths and legends of personal magic, the subject matter ranges widely from African warriors in the holds of slave ships to abused children plotting revenge to drag queens to the undead living in affluent closed communities.

In Neil Gaiman's "Bitter Grounds," an anthropology professor is on his way to a conference in New Orleans to present a paper on the legend of the Haitian coffee girls, undead children who allegedly went door-to-door selling a chicory coffee mixture just before the dawn. When his car breaks down on a backwoods road, he runs into a mysterious Samaritan who comes into his life for a very definite reason.

The introduction by Luisah Teish, a popular spiritualist and author of Jambalaya: The Natural Woman's Book of Personal Charms and Practical Rituals, says it all: "Reader, Be Aware! There's a conjuring going on. You are being lured, with the turning of each page, into the myth and mystery of our DeepBlack magical heritage."

Unlike many anthologies, this collection of 19 original stories has no weak spots. Every tale is strong, unique, and noteworthy in its own right. Fans of Nalo Hopkinson works like Brown Girl in the Ring and the short story collection Skin Folk will cherish this brilliant collection. Paul Goat Allen

The Washington Post
The presence of mojo, ouanga or obeah in the New World is almost entirely a legacy of the slave trade, another reason why stories dealing with it tend to be somber more than antic. Although Eliot Fintushel's "White Man's Trick" has its wry moments and Andy Duncan's "Daddy Mention and the Monday Skull" is charged with grim humor, most of the stories in Mojo are distinctly dark. Many are from relatively new writers, and several more from people whose work lies primarily outside the fantasy genre. Although Tananarive Due, Steven Barnes and Neil Gaiman turn in smoothly professional performances, some of the most powerful stories are from these unfamiliar names. — Gregory Feeley
Publishers Weekly
The 19 stories in this all-original anthology, edited by the author of Skin Folk, skillfully blend West African magic, fantasy and horror, along with plain old-fashioned readability. Some deal with familiar aspects of that magic in unfamiliar ways, such as the zombies of Steven Barnes's "Heartspace" and Neil Gaiman's "Bitter Grounds." Others explore social issues, like Tananarive Due's disturbing "Trial Day," which highlights injustice against African-Americans during the 1920s. "The Prowl" (Gregory Frost), "The Horsemen and the Morning Star" (Barbara Hambly) and "How Sukie Cross de Big Wata" (Sheree Renee Thomas) offer grim views of slavery days. Marcia Douglas's somewhat tongue-in-cheek "Notes from a Writer's Book of Cures and Spells" amuses more than it unsettles. A.M. Dellamonica applies magic to food in "Cooking Creole," while Barth Anderson's "Lark till Dawn, Princess" takes place on the drag queen circuit with an assist from a magical Elvis impersonator. Since some authors develop their themes or handle dialect better than others, the mojo level varies from story to story. Luisah Teish (Jambalaya: The Natural Woman's Book of Personal Charms and Practical Rituals) provides an introduction. (Apr. 1) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780446679299
Publisher:
Grand Central Publishing
Publication date:
04/01/2003
Edition description:
ORIGINAL
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.79(d)

Read an Excerpt

MOJO


By Nalo Hopkinson

Warner Aspect

Copyright © 2003 Nalo Hopkinson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-446-67929-1


Introduction

Reader, Be Aware!

There's a conjuring going on.

You are being lured, with the turning of each page, into the myth and mystery of our DeepBlack magical heritage.

Put on your beads, pocket your jujubag, and cross yourself several times. Do what you do. Do what you must. But do turn the page and remember what Grandma told you! The old sayings are here. The beliefs are manifested. The formulas cook on the stove.

Eshu, the Trickster will meet you at the Threshold. He stands there in the crossroads between power and fear.

A door will open into the darkness of these pages. You will see in the dark that all are accounted for. The deities are here; the ancestors have arrived. This is the council chamber of those who hold sinister wisdom and serve up justice.

The demons and shape-shifters pace around the corners of this book. They pant and salivate, they snarl and sniff, awaiting your arrival, human. Gather up your courage, child. Do not be frightened by howling laughter and deep guttural moans.

Go ahead; turn the page. Come in and meet your past, your present, and your future.

These stories take us across the varied landscape of our DeepBlack magical heritage. They recall our experiences in the African bush and on the plantations of the Old South. They entice us to feel again the murky waters of the swamp and the hard hot concrete of the northern ghettos. These stories speak to the conditions of slavery and the secrets of the struggle for freedom. They wrestle with the demons: addiction, incest, and insanity. The healing sacrifice is made with our blood!

Turn another page and you are led to the inner room of your own mind, where madness and genius, wild imagination and common reality, perform a "danse macabre."

And if you make it, dear reader, through these pages, the Trickster will meet you once more at the Threshold where, having survived the darkness, you are in grave danger of being blinded by the light.

Come now. Turn the page. I dare you!

-Luisah Teish

(Continues...)



Excerpted from MOJO by Nalo Hopkinson Copyright © 2003 by Nalo Hopkinson. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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