"Many are the women who will emerge from your blood, who will flow forth from your waters into the waiting world. Unless they look back as they move forward, how will they remember the place where blood is born? How can they know you are the mother ...
of all journeys?"
A delicate tapestry unfolds within these pages, a story stitched together with the threads of Anansi, the spider of African myth, and the wisdom of the ancestors. The River Where Blood Is Born takes us on a journey along the river of one family's history, from ancient Africa into today's America.
In this astonishing novel, the seen and unseen worlds are seamlessly joined--the spirit realms where the great river goddess and ancestor mothers watch over the lives of their descendants, both the living and those not yet born. Stringing beads of destiny, they work to lead one daughter back to her source.
But it is through the lives of Mother Africa's many daughters that we understand the real meaning of roots: The captive Proud Mary, who has been savagely punished for refusing to relinquish her child to slavery; Earlene, who witnesses her father's murder at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan; Big Momma, a modern-day matriarch who can make a woman of a girl; proud and sassy Cinnamon Brown, whose wild abandon hides a bitter loss; smart, ambitious Alma, who is torn between the love of a man and the song of her soul.
From its African origins, The River Where Blood Is Born carves a course across two centuries and three continents, from the eighteenth-century Gold Coast through the perilous Middle Passage, from antebellum Barbados to forty acres in turn-of-the-century Illinois. Its rambling river runs to Chicago in the 1960s and climbs the mountains of North Carolina and Montreal in the '70s, crosses over to London in the '80s, and makes other world wanderings before bending back toward Africa in the '90s.
It is in this time and place that, at last, a chosen daughter is summoned home. But what must she sacrifice to honor the River Mother's call? That question is at the heart of this remarkable novel. For women everywhere, Alma's journey is a reminder of the price we all pay for forgetting and for remembering.