This first novel will inevitably be compared to the work of Toni Morrison (incidentally Ms. Jones' editor), since both probe the central tensions in the psyches of black American women. But whereas Morrison moves easily within a fictional world of personalities and communities which seem to exist beyond the printed page, Jones centers on one anguish in one life and the outside world seems somehow incorporeal. Ursa Corregidora tells her own story in 1948. She is a singer in a Kentucky cafe; she has lost her baby, her womb, and her husband Mutt, who hated her that much when he threw her downstairs. And there's no way she can follow the commands of her grandmother and great-grandmother to ""make generations"" -- to bear witness to the savagery of the white Portuguese slave owner, Corregidora, who fathered both these women and Ursa's mother. But Ursa is not his child. Her father was a black man -- the one who dared to spot the hate/love in Corregidora's women, and was pushed out and held off -- like Mutt. As in Ursa's song, there are women ""who take a man on a long journey but never return him."" Ursa tries another marriage, finally years later returns to Mutt -- to perform a symbolic revenge/castration. Both embrace in hurt and need. With demonic slave tales in stark ""country"" diction, Corregidora forces a confrontation of frigidity as a legacy of rape -- violation as black, as woman. Raw, harsh, hypnotic.