It’s rare that I fine books that I can read and reread and still enjoy as if it’s the first time I am experiencing it. This book is one of them.
I first read this book back in the early 90s as part of my reading assignments when I was writing reviews for newspapers.
I fell in love with Flower’s writing style, told in a lilting Southern twang, and his characters the feisty Melvira Dupree and her charming man, Lucas Bodeen.
Melvira is a hoodoo, although everyone thinks she’s much too good looking for the job. She’s a hoodoo alright, and a powerful one at that. Lucas Bodeen is a blues playing piano man, with an eye for the ladies and devilish good looks to make the job easy.
It is love at first sight, and the beginning of journey for both Melvira and Lucas.
Flowers tells this story, as an observer but draws one in completely to the story. So much so, that at the end, I wanted to know what happened to old Hoot Owl, and if Melvira and Lucas ever made it back to Beale St.
On a personal note, this book is part of my own life’s inexorable drawing into the realm of The Seven African Powers.
Although I may have come to know Osun when I went back to live in Trinidad, this book, like many other cultural references, introduced me to the names of Osun, Sango, Oya, Yemoja, Babalu and Orunmilla; most important, it’s where I heard God being called by a West African name, Oludumare.
In retrospect, it’s not surprising that I found my way into the realm of African-based religion and traditions, this book like that amazing poem read by Larenz Tate in love jones, “A Blues For Nina”, was one of my many sign posts along the way.
Flowers also gets high marks from me, for managing to weave Zora Neale Hurston into the story in an engaging and unforced way, portraying her intelligence and curiosity in a manner that makes me wish to hunt down that book on hoodoo she did write.
This is a highly recommended read. Even if you know nothing of African-based traditions, this book is wonderful love story, funny, charming and utterly engaging.