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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
One does not read Gayl Jones; Gayl Jones allows you into her space, and she shares her story with you. She sets the rhythm. She sets the pace. You're invited to come along, if you must. While the invitation may appear casual, even aloof, the writing is not. And once you step inside her latest book, Mosquito, Jones will keep you dazzled by her language, humor, breadth of knowledge, and sheer creative intellect. For its volume alone you may want to put the book down, but as Nadine, Jones's main character might say, "Now, you didn't have to come in the first, but you here now and I gots somethin' to say." You will listen, and you will enjoy.
Meet Sojourner Nadine Jane Johnson (also known as Mosquito), female trucker, official mama of the Perfectability Baptist church, Ray's woman (as in the Reverend Ray, although he is not a Perfectability Baptist), and runner for the Sanctuary movement, a new Underground Railroad, which offers asylum to those crossing the Texas border. Mosquito works the southwest Texas route, delivering industrial detergents to Tex-Mex border companies. She's a female John Henry who is tough, walks the straight and narrow, and works alone. When she discovers a pregnant stowaway in her truck, she begins a journey that ends in her heart. But be warned: Mosquito is no quick-read, herky-jerky tear-maker. You will be challenged, frustrated, satisfied, and entertained.
But, oh, the language! Here Mosquito sits in a tub, in conversation with Ray:
"It must be Sterne's book, 'The Life and Opinions of Tristam Shandy, Gent.' "Gayl Jones has not yet received the lavish acclaim that she certainly deserves. Mosquito is intellectually entertaining and will be widely discussed. Jones's invitation to the reader may be casual, but her writing is intense. And when you turn her last page, spent in awe, she will walk you to the door, and in her best southern drawl will say, "Why, thank you for coming. I do hope you had a good time."
"Yeah, that's the name of that book. 'Cept it's got a gent on it."
"It say, "The Life and Opinions of Tristam Shandy, Gent.' Gentleman, you know. That would be my book, The Life and Opinions of Tristam Shandy, Mosquito. 'Cept, I wouldn't be no gent."
"Gentlewoman. They have gentle women. I think you're gentle woman, Sojourner."
"You's the only one."
"There's a lot of meanings of gentle. You have an essential tenderness. You're like some grand being, sure of strength, self-contained, but so sure of your strength that you don't overwhelm a man. A woman like you can overwhelm a man. You don't overwhelm a man's strength."
"I just think that you ain't the sort of man to be overwhelmed. I'm all woman, but there's men that don't know what a full woman is. You must know who I am. That's why I loves you. Tell me what pure revolution means."