URBAN ROMANCE by Nelson George


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 Buppies and b-boys bring the full weight of their lifestyles to bear in this desperately dull fiction debut from screenwriter and critic George (Elevating the Game, 1992; The Death of Rhythm and Blues, 1988, etc.), squashing their characters flat in the process. Dwayne Robinson is a promising music critic on the scene when rap begins to take off in the early 80's; Danielle Embry is a rising star at the Columbia School of Journalism, with a keen interest in TV and politics. They meet; they mate; they make a mess of their relationship (Dwayne can't tell her he loves her). Meanwhile, Danielle's ex-roommate, the rising young law clerk Jacksina, has gotten under the robes of Judge Alvin Peters, known as ``see 'em, free 'em'' for his reluctance to make defendants serve time for their crimes. Jacksina and Alvin--old enough to be her father and unhappily married--romp like young lovers while Dwayne and Danielle agonize over careers and disparate family backgrounds. Danielle gets pregnant, and her abortion effectively terminates her connection with Dwayne. Jacksina gets knocked up by her lover too, but they want the child in spite of the ensuing tabloid headlines. The result: one failed romance, one happy couple--one yawning audience. Even with a colorful behind-the-scenes depiction of the birth of rap, this is unleavened urbania, beyond the ability of a vibrant black culture to bring to life.

Pub Date: Jan. 4th, 1994
ISBN: 0-399-13865-X
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1993


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