Uncomfortable Bargains

I love to browse for books at Amazon, and lately I’ve been spending a lot more time on that Web site, pining about the Kindle digital reader. I gotta have a Kindle! Whether it’s a Christmas or birthday present to myself, I’m getting one. And when I get that reader, I will probably load up on books by African-American authors, as well as the classics and modern-day must reads, of course.

On the way to my latest rendezvous with the Kindle testimonial videos, I came across a preview of “Wench”, a first novel by established published short fiction writer Dolen Perkins Valdez. The synopsis is intriguing: it follows the developments of friendships between enslaved black women and the White men who keep them as mistresses, as these “couples” meet at a resort in Ohio every summer. Weird. Plain weird, but it sounds too good to pass up. Personally, I can’t imagine myself making that kind of a bargain, even under tough circumstances. If a white plantation owner did have a tortured selfish case of half love for me, I still wouldn’t be okay with him bringing me to a free state, using me and bring me back to the backward deep South in chains!! Ugh. I’d have to take my chances on the underground railroad or something.

This can’t be anything close to love, even in its most complicated form. This is an uncomfortable bargain that these black women made with themselves and their bodies as a form of survival. But it sounds like one of these women wants to break out, and that’s when a lot of these issues blow up. I’m with her on this issue. I look forward to reading it. First in print and then … on my Kindle!


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