“Her Best Thing, Her Beautiful, Magical Best Thing”

Toni Morrison’s Beloved and Phyllis Perry’s Stigmata


Recent portrayals of the slavery era are dominated by two main trends: the genealogical novel and narratives that use fantastic and magical realist elements in order to represent history. Linda Beatrice Brown’s Crossing Over Jordan (1995), Connie Briscoe’s A Long Way from Home (1999), and Lalita Tademy’s Cane River (2001) all explore the lives of several generations of African American women of the same family dealing with issues of racism, sexual exploitation, miscegenation, and passing, which not only blur racial boundaries but also depict the complexities of African American history. In these multigenerational narratives, the mother-and-daughter relationship emerges as an essential conductor of history. In this sense, these are novels that continue the African American tradition established by the novels discussed in previous chapters, Jubilee, Corregidora, and Dessa Rose. J. California Cooper’s In Search of Satisfaction (1994) and The Wake of the Wind (1998) are also narratives told across generational lines in order to reconstruct African American history by drawing on family chronicles.


Collective History Traumatic Past African American Culture African American History African American Experience 
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© Ana Nunes 2011

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