MARIE LAVEAU by Francine Prose


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It's quite a jumpshift from Judah the Pious (1973) and The Glorious Ones (1974) of the commedia dell'arte to Marie Laveau, voodoo/hoodoo priestess of old New Orleans. But she is said to have really lived and Miss Prose (young and enthusiastic like Cecelia Holland) can now indulge her fanciest fancies. When first seen Marie is wearing three red satin skirts, ropes of precious stones, and a snake around her neck. Born with a caul and the giveaway red eyes of second sightedness, Marie is encouraged to develop her skills by a conjurewoman, Marie Saloppe, and Doctor John who gives her the emerald green cobra Mojo Hand (he talks, or rather wHISSpers). Between them they teach her all they know about gris-gris and fixes and medicines and tricks and all those powers that be. Some of them also belong to Jacques Paris, the only one she ""wildly"" loves--he's her double but he leaves her. Oh well. She goes on to a clientele of her own with greater and greater success, has a later love, a baby girl, and a fate pre-divined. Trash incarnate, perhaps, but cheerfully hopped up and diverting in spite of some other jumpshifts like ""This ain't no lonely hearts' club."" Considering the contemporary taste, she's a sure Venus Draw.

Pub Date: Feb. 23rd, 1976
Publisher: Putnam