TO CATCH A ZOMBI by Mary Alexander Walker


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A bayou community of ""free-people-of-color"" in 1784 Louisiana. The quadroon society of New Orleans at that date. Voodoo extortion vs. Catholic probity. Black pride and black shame. . . .Strong elements, every one--too strong for the flimsy plot and cardboard characters. Vance, a handsome, stalwart, freeborn youth of 15, falls in love with a local slave girl, Shana, whom he sees bathing nude (""He was not a boy, he was a man""); and, undeterred (or even, apparently, perturbed) by her marriage, resolves to buy her freedom and thus that of her unborn children. But his efforts to save the money are constantly thwarted by his mother's credulous submission to a mercenary voodoo doctor. After a spell in New Orleans as--among other things--the dandyish escort to a beautiful quadroon (who will be desolated when her ""temporary husband,"" a well-born Frenchman, marries), Vance returns to claim Shana's orphaned baby and expose the voodoo hougan as a contemptible fake. One might question the author's mind-set in regard to some of these matters if the book had any merit as a story.

Pub Date: Sept. 10th, 1979
Publisher: Atheneum