MY SOUL TO KEEP by Tananarive Due


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 Top-flight soft-horror novel by Miami-based columnist Due (The Between, 1995). Some 500 years ago, young Dawit of Lalibela, in Abyssinia, was inducted into the 52-member group called The Immortals by the master Khaldun, who had drunk the blood of Christ. Still looking 30, Dawit (now known as David) lives in Miami, his Khaldun-transfused blood so filled with T-cells that no disease or injury can kill him. He is, for all practical purposes, immortal. He's had many careers. He's also had many lovers, wives, and children, and watched age overtake them while he remained young. Today, his daughter Rosalie, from a liaison in New Orleans in the 1920s, lies infirm in a Chicago nursing home. David stops off to administer euthanasia. Then he returns to Jessica, his wife of six years, a Miami reporter who's just started research on a book about disgraceful conditions in nursing homes. The Immortals think themselves above humans, so when David feels threatened by Jessica's research he kills her fellow researcher, Peter. Although he's killed before to protect his identity, his love of Jessica makes him feel, for the first time, guilty for what he's done. David realizes that he doesn't, for once, want to outlive and, to protect his secret, abandon his human family. Will Jessica discover that her husband's immortal? Will he give his blood to her and their five-year-old daughter, Kira, so that they can always be with him? Suspense tightens neatly with modest melodrama but with a big sense of family life. Due is careful to portray David as both hero (he's charming and talented, polylingual, and a published author) and threat. He is, essentially, an alien trying to mimic a life that can never really be his. A sequel seems likely, though it may be hard to keep up the gripping originality here. ($65,000 ad/promo; author tour)

Pub Date: July 16th, 1997
ISBN: 0-06-018742-5
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1997


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