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Hovering somewhere between adult and YA suitability is Hunter's coy version of a 1965 rebellion in Lakestown, the largest all-black community in the US and the only one in the North. But the ruckus is a far cry from the real tensions of that year--King's marches, Malcolm's assassination--which Hunter's insulated characters never acknowledge. The fuss is over a highway planned by born-yesterday white politicians who are routing eight lanes through Lakestown instead of through their own spotless community. The black folk come up with some goofball plans to disrupt the construction crew--spiked lemonade, parading hookers--but even these dodo white folks know when they're being suckered. They take stronger precautions, but the blacks still come up smiling: they finesse a dam and flood the site, creating a lake. There's an ambitious, perhaps unprincipled black mayor and his brassy, pig's-feet-and-greens wife; a what-the-hell navy veteran who dies for the cause; a group of young bloods whose solutions backfire; a snappy, incisive doctor, a churchy, butt-in maid, and the mayor's sculptor-brother, his wife's sweetly seductive lover. Hunter seems to know them well, but they don't always seem to know each other: they strut too much. And the most striking of all, the maid's mute daughter who starts talking after 15 years, is someone Toni Morrison could layer into poetry; here she flashes on and then just shuffles by. More revel than rebellion, and somewhat limited by the divided-highway approach.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1978
Publisher: Scribners