THE EDGE OF HEAVEN by Marita Golden


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 An acclaimed chronicler of black women's lives (And Do Remember Me, 1992, etc.) shows what happens when a good marriage goes bad. Set in the sophisticated milieu of black professionals living in Washington, the story is told by Teresa and her parents, Lena and Ryland. It begins on the day that Lena is to be released on parole from a women's prison in West Virginia after having served a four-year sentence for manslaughter. Teresa, who's been living with grandmother Adele ever since her younger sister Kenya died, hasn't told her chums or her boyfriend Simon the truth about her mother. Now in college and working as a summer intern in a Washington law firm, she viscerally dreads her mother's return. As the story moves back and forth in time, Teresa reveals how she's long felt torn between hating her mother for what she did and pitying her for what she had to endure. Before everything went wrong, her mother had been someone to admire: a successful accountant in a top firm and a loving mother and wife. Her husband Ryland, an artist who worked at home and took care of the two girls, had been especially close to Kenya, who shared his love for art. But as Lena's career flourished, Ryland's languished, causing friction that proved difficult to mend. The couple's quarrels turned increasingly violent, until Ryland finally moved out. His departure unhinged Lena, who started drinking and, in anger, accidentally pushed Kenya down the stairs. Even so, as Golden persuades us, these women can be strong on their own terms. Emotions run high--the plights of black (and white) women let down by men and the world are sharply etched--but telling insights soften the rage and give it balance. For Lena and Teresa alike, life will go on. Golden, in her fourth novel, is writing in top form.

Pub Date: Jan. 5th, 1998
ISBN: 0-385-41507-9
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1997


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