- STAFF PICKS
- GIFTS + GIFT CARDS
- SELL BOOKS
- FIND A STORE
Accident of Birthby Heather Neff
Synopses & Reviews
"A World Court trial of a Liberian man accused of war crimes forces an African-American woman to come to terms with her troubled past in Neff's uneven third novel (after Wisdom and Blackgammon). Reba Freeman leads a full, busy life as a high-level Washington human rights advocate with a precocious teenage daughter and a loving albeit distant relationship with her well-to-do husband, Carl Thornton. The issue driving a wedge between Freeman and Thornton is the lingering emotional presence of Joseph Thomas, Freeman's first husband, who abruptly left her to return to Africa after a brief courtship and subsequent wedding. Twenty years later Freeman still carries a torch for Thomas, who returns to her life in alarming fashion when she learns that after a brief period as a village schoolteacher, he apparently became a notorious Liberian terrorist who is being tried for murdering more than 30 innocent villagers during his country's civil war. Freeman takes up Joseph's cause when she learns that the accusations may be false, risking her career and marriage to go to Switzerland and help prove his innocence. The contrast between the two story lines is sharp: the current political subplot packs a compelling punch, but Neff dulls the impact with a series of long, ham-fisted flashbacks tracing Freeman's past. A taut climax provides relief, but can't entirely make up for the meandering backstory. Agent, Denise Stinson. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Alternating between present-day action and a series of flashbacks, "Accident of Birth" creates an intricate tapestry of suspense, drama, and romance, while also looking at the moral and cultural differences between African Americans and Africans.
About the Author
HEATHER NEFF, Ph.D., is a professor of literatures in the African diaspora at Eastern Michigan University and holds a doctorate from the University of Zurich. She is the author of two previous novels, Blackgammon and Wisdom, which was named an Honor Book by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. Her fourth novel, Haarlem, will be published by Harlem Moon in 2005. She lives in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
What Our Readers Are Saying
Other books you might like