Praise for Pearl Cleage and Babylon Sisters
“Pearl Cleage’s wonderful new novel, Babylon Sisters, shows a writer at the top of her game, managing to weave together the eternal dance of mothers and daughters, a timeless love story, rich friendships, and international politics into a fast-paced Atlanta saga with an unforgettable villain and a thrilling climax that leaves us cheering. Cleage has once again given us a book filled with folks who are so real we think we know them, or wish we did.”
–E. Lynn Harris, author of A Love of My Own
“Babylon Sisters’ funny, feminine, fabulous voice sings a story of history, family, love and redemption. Cleage’s ability to make the personal political and the political personal triumphs once again! Nestled in this beautifully written ode to love–of child, friends, men, and self–is a call to political activism and empowerment.”
–Jill Nelson, author of Sexual Healing
“Cleage writes with amazing grace and [a] killer instinct.”
–The New York Times
“A perfect blend of love and activism . . . [Cleage’s] characters struggle with issues of conscience and consequence, and readers are always richer in the end.”
–The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Cleage takes an impartial, nonjudgmental stance toward her characters, even blurring the lines between right and wrong. Does Blue Hamilton's self-righteousness make him a good man, for instance? Can protecting his subjects justify murder? Cleage doesn't tell us what she thinks. Just as we're getting ready to settle into reading the book as a simple morality tale, she pulls out something complex by having one of her most poignant characters meet with a horrifying end. It is the sign of a writer's belief in her material, her authority over her characters and her confidence in her readers.
The Washington Post
Cleage (Babylon Sisters) continues chronicling the lives of the diverse community of Atlanta's West End inhabited by Regina and Blue Hamilton from Some Things I Never Thought I'd Do. As unofficial community leader, Blue takes a vigilante approach toward enforcing peace and safety that creates difficulties in his personal life. Blue's wife, Gina, has doubts about Blue's choice of career and is in continual fear for his safety, especially when Blue and General Richardson, his right-hand man, step in to resolve local problems of domestic violence. The catalyst for the ruination of several West End lives comes in the form of "Baby Brother" Jamerson, small-time thug and army deserter. Various political, social, and economic concerns arise as Cleage juggles story lines that creatively culminate in an eventful conclusion. Cleage is a popular African American and Oprah Book Club author; her latest is recommended for popular fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 12/05.]-Joy St. John, Henderson Dist. P.L., NV Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Cleage returns to the idealized African-American world of Some Things I Never Thought I'd Do (2003), this time combining romance with a noirish criminal melodrama. Former singing star Blue Hamilton has married Regina, the heroine of Some Things. Now expecting her first child, she has begun to worry when Blue goes off for hours on "business." Blue's business is to do whatever it takes to make sure his Atlanta neighborhood of West End remains a little Eden for its black inhabitants. Regina, and readers, must accept that if he sometimes uses deadly means, his cause is righteous. Blue's driver and chief aide is General, his best friend from childhood. General's big secret: He was deeply in love with Blue's mother for 20 years. On her deathbed she promised to send him a sign from the other side. When he sees her birthmark on the back of a local stripper, he has to force himself to begin a relationship with the girl although she feels culturally and ethically challenged. Meanwhile, a young army deserter named Baby Brother moves into the neighborhood and manipulates his way into Blue's good graces. To make some extra money, Baby also hustles Kwame Hargrove, the secretly gay married son of Precious Hargrove, a rising politician with morals to match her ambition. Baby Brother also pursues General's new stripper girlfriend. Then Baby Brother turns up dead in Kwame's loft. A crooked cop who has been trailing Kwame since she stumbled onto his secret life smells blackmail, although she's convinced that Kwame is no murderer. An unconvincing mishmash of violence, spiritual uplift and Hallmark romance.