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Possessing The Secret Of Joy


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This is the compelling story of Tashi, an extraordinary woman torn between African and American cultural identities, from the author of The Color Purple.

About the Author

Alice Walker is the author of seven novels, including Pulitzer Prize winnner The Color Purple, The Third Life of Grange Copeland and Now is the Time to Open Your Heart; three collections of short stories, In Love & Trouble, You Can't Keep A Good Woman Down and The Way Forward is with a Broken Heart; as well as eight volumes of poetry. Alice Walker lives in Northern California.


Pulitzer Prize winner Walker illustrates the truism that violence begets violence in this strong-voiced but often strident and polemical novel, a 17-week PW bestseller, which focuses on the practice of female circumcision in African cultures. (June)

A peripheral character in The Color Purple ( LJ 6/1/82) and The Temple of My Familiar ( LJ 3/15/88), Tashi becomes the focus of this welcome new work. Tashi, who marries Celie's son Adam, submits to female circumcision partially out of loyalty to the threatened tribal customs of her people, the Olinka. As a result, she endures physical pain and long-lasting emotional trauma. Not a sympathetically drawn victim, the tortured Tashi stretches to bridge two continents and to understand why women must undergo this torture, even at the hands of their mothers, for the pleasure of men. Though she often succumbs to madness, Tashi eventually takes possession of the secret of joy. Her compelling story is every Eve's account of those ``whose chastity belt was made of leather, or of silk and diamonds, or of fear and not of our own `flesh.' '' This is not a sequel to Walker's previous novels, but it easily equals, if not surpasses, their excellence.--Faye A. Chadwell, Univ. of South Carolina Lib., Columbia

Like The Color Purple, this novel packs an enormous emotional punch... A direct challenge to the times we live in * Guardian *
A true confrontation with the hearts of darkness, this is masterful, honourable, and unforgettable storytelling * Cosmopolitan *
Walker's delicate narrative gifts have never been better displayed, her depiction of the unbearable never so unflinchingly believable * Daily Telegraph *

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