When looking through one of our partially-obscured bedroom bookshelves I came across Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson. With it I found Mama Day by Gloria Naylor. Not paying much attention to the cover of Mama Day, I assumed it was one of Hopkinson's novels since I remember trying to get my hands on more than one of them after reading The New Moon's Arms (see post). I simply read the synopses from the back covers of both books to decide which one I'd post about. It wasn't until I was at the computer looking up the book's online to create links for this post that I realized that Mama Day was by a different author.
I don't doubt that those who read the book descriptions posted below will wonder how I could possibly confuse the authorship, assuming these two very different novels were written by the same person. The answer is quite simple. While Hopkinson's early work is very much in the realm of science fiction, her more recent novels feel different, like southern fiction with a dash of magical realism (like, if I may be so bold, Gloria Naylor's novel). Both women have had their work described as being in the tradition of Toni Morrison and Alice Walker. So, now that I've explained that, I feel a little less silly about my mistake.
Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson
The Caribbean-colonized planet of Toussaint celebrates Carnival in traditional fashion, and Tan-Tan, a young reveler, is masked as the Midnight Robber, Trinidad's answer to Robin Hood. But after her father commits a deadly crime, he flees with her to the brutal New Half Way Tree, a planet inhabited by violent human outcasts and monstrous creatures known only through folklore. Here, Tan-Tan is forced to reach into the heart of myth and become the legendary heroine herself, for only the Robber Queen's powers can save Tan-Tan from such a savage world.
Mama Day by Gloria Naylor
The bestselling new novel from the American Book Award-winning author is set in a world that is timeless yet indelibly authentic - the Georgia sea island of Willow Springs, where people still practice herbal medicine and honor ancestors who came over as slaves. On Willow Springs lives Mama Day, a matriarch who can call up lightning storms and see secrets in her dreams. But all of Mama Day’s powers are tested by her great-niece, Cocoa, a stubbornly emancipated woman whose life and very soul are now in danger from the island’s darker forces. Mama Day is a powerful generational saga at once tender and suspenseful, overflowing with magic and common sense.