Vaguely reminiscent of some highly forgettable books--the ones in which the educated-to-effete Jewish youngster frantically searches for his identity among the pushcarts on the Lower East Side of his forebears, Eunice Prideaux is the Negro version. Without ever making it clear why, the author sets Eunice, an upper-income, very light skinned girl, on a picaresque search which degenerates into the most defiling experiences that await the uneducated Southern Negro. Just before her debutante cotillion, Eunice observes how completely a group of status conscious matrons responds to the gut-plucking music of Black Snake. She sets off for Raleigh, North Carolina with a vow to find him and lives through a tightly telescoped set of the Negro woman's experience--superstitious mumbo, promiscuous and open unfaithfulness, liquor-over-food, bonebreaking work, illegitimate pregnancy. Somehow the elderly Black Snake's music has charms no Negro can resist--this the reason the author offers. It's a first novel with passages of power (at least to depress), paragraphs of incoherent overwriting, and, unfortunately, a main character incapable of summoning reader empathy.