Gayl Jones is one furious, lacerating writer. You don't read her easily, and you can't forget her at all. Her subject here--as in Corregidora (1975)--is the sexual subjugation of the black woman, both inferentially and quite graphically described by Eva Medina Canada, who's been grabbed at, molested and propositioned for as long as she can remember. She's never said much but ""Naw"" to all those brutes and she's not talking at all after she's arrested for murdering and castrating one of them who picked her up in a bar when she had no place to go. Her story weaves back and forth among her men--the first little boy who stuck a dirty Popsicle stick up inside her, her mother's boyfriend, her cousin, a much older husband, a stranger on a bus--repeating the common elements in each attack, all stylized into that one last encounter with the man who, as the prison psychiatrist guesses, came to stand for all the others. Hyper-real and traumatic as this novel is, it's one that's been waiting to be written since Samuel Richardson gave us the male point of view of Clarissa, that other fallen woman whose only acceptable alternative to ravishment was death. Eva's silence, and her status here as legally insane, are eloquent testimony to the condition of being a woman in this man's world.