Jonah, Joseph and Ruth are the children of mixed-race parents determined to protect them from the grinding effects of race.
Hothouse children, they are all musically talented, but they cannot be protected from the world for long.
Jonah becomes a successful young tenor, but the world of opera can only accept him as a 'brilliant Negro singer'; Joseph, our narrator, becomes a pianist and devotes his talents to the service of his brother's; Ruth turns her back on classical music ('white music') and disappears, on the run with her black husband under suspicion of being a Black Panther.
Powers brilliantly and devastatingly delineates the tragedy of race in America, as it unfolds from the Civil Rights movement to Rodney King and Louis Farrakhan, through the lives and choices of one family, caught on the cusp of identities.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 640 pages
- Publisher: Vintage Publishing
- Publication Date: 05/02/2004
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780099453833