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Blues Dancing (P.S.)by Diane McKinney-Whetstone
Synopses & Reviews
My aunt says if you smell butter on a foggy night you're getting ready to fall in love.
For the last twenty years, the beautiful Verdi Mae has led a comfortable life with Rowe, the conservative professor who rescued her from addiction when she was an undergrad. But her world is about to shift when the smell of butter lingers in the air and Johnson — the boy from the back streets of Philadelphia who pulled her into the fire of passion and all the shadows cast from it — returns to town.
In "this story of self-discovery that moves seamlessly between the early 1970s and early 1990s" (Publishers Weekly starred review), acclaimed writer Diane McKinney-Whetstone takes readers into a world of erotic love, drugs, and political activism, and beautifully illustrates the struggle to reconcile passion with accountability and the redemptive powers of love's rediscovery. This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.
Verdi, daughter of a Southern preacher, comes to Philadelphia in the 1970s and enrolls at the university. She meets Johnson, a poor, irresistible and militant student who teaches her about many things — including how to love heroin. Verdi is rescued by a professor who falls in love with her. Twenty years later, Johnson reenters Verdi's life.
In Blue Dancing, Diane McKinney-Whitestone and present, character and place with a transfixing lyricism that shimmers in its detail. This richly spun story of love, passion, betrayal, and redemption shifts seamlessly between modern-day and 70's Philadelphia when Verdi, the pampered daughter of a prosperous southern preacher, enrolls at the local university. Immediately drawn to Johnson, a fellow student whose city-smart ways are as intriguing as they are shocking, Verdi spirals into an unfamiliar world of erotic love, militant politics, and heroin. Enter Rowe, the conservative professor who rescues Verdi from her addiction even as he falls hopelessly in love with her himself.
Twenty years later, as the novel opens, Verdi and Rowe's comfortable, if unexciting, existence is rocked when Johnson returns to town-and Verdi must grapple with the memories of her old love and the assurance of her new life. Smooth as jazz, belted out with McKinney-Whetstone's signature rhythm and intensity, Blues Dancing is both poignant and compelling, brilliantly capturing the desperate struggle to reconcile passion with accountability and the redemptive powers of love's rediscovery.
About the Author
Diane grew up in Philadelphia, the city she returns to as the setting for Leaving Cecil Street. Her work has appeared in Philadelphia Magazine; Essence; the Sunday Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine;and the anthologies Bluelight Corner, and Mending the World.
She has received numerous awards, including a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grant, the Zora Neale Hurston Society award for creative contribution to literature, a citation from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for her portrayal of urban life as presented in Tumbling, Author of the Year award from the Go On Girl Book Club, and more.
She presently teaches fiction writing at her alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband Greg, and sometimes her college-age twins, Taiwo, her daughter, and Kehinde, her son.
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