DIVINA TRACE by Robert Antoni


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 Old Granny Myrna, on her deathbed, tells her grandson, Johnny Domingo, the miraculous Caribbean tale of Magdelena the nun who, with Barto as the father, births a half-man/half-frog child whose existence then becomes the stuff of legend and leads to Magdelena's universal canonization on the island of Corpus Christi by the whole ethnic mix. Testimony in a number of voices and forms attests to the strange happenings and their possibly more scientific underpinnings (a case of anencephaly, an island doctor wonders)- -voices and forms (including a Hindu cosmogony poem, a mock- Ramayana) that first-novelist Antoni slathers on with zest. But a reader, receiving, eventually just feels buried. Partly it's a problem constitutional to dialect books--``Yes Doodoo, now de burden of passing on dis story must fall pon you. Because Evalina not here no more to push she foot long de road again, and you is firstborn Domingo manchild, beget by de firstborn Domingo manchild, beget by dis wadjank-cacashat who is Satan self, who defile Papa God own sweet saint of heaven to beget dis diab-crapostory hand down to you...''--and partly it's the fault of the swollen diameter of Antoni's mythic purpose, when in fact all he has to tell is a small story. Where was the editor on watch when this book came through?

Pub Date: Feb. 14th, 1992
ISBN: 0-87951-445-0
Page count: 436pp
Publisher: Overlook
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 1991


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