by Gayl Jones
Gayl Jones’ first novel, Corregidora, won her recognition as a writer whose work was gripping, subtle, and sure. It was praised, along with her second novel, Eva’s Man, by writers and critics from all over the nation: John Updike, Maya Angelou, John Edgar Wideman, and James Baldwin, to name a few. The publication of The Healing, her first novel in over twenty years, is a literary event.
Harlan Jane Eagleton is a faith healer, traveling by bus to small towns, converting skeptics, restoring minds and bodies. But before that she was a minor rock star’s manager, and before that a beautician. She’s had a fling with her rock star’s ex-husband and an Afro-German horse dealer; along the way she’s somehow lost her own husband, a medical anthropologist now traveling with a medicine woman in Africa. Harlan tells her story from the end backwards, drawing us constantly deeper into her world and the mystery at the heart of her tale—the story of her first healing.
The Healing is a lyrical and at times humorous exploration of the struggle to let go of pain, anger, and even love. Slipping seamlessly back through Harlan’s memories in a language rich with the textured cadences of the black Southerner, Gayl Jones weaves her story to its dramatic—and unexpected—beginning.
Gayl Jones was born in Kentucky in 1949. She attended Connecticut College and Brown University; she has taught at Wellesley and the University of Michigan. Her books include Corregidora, Eva’s Man, White Rat, Song for Anninho, and Liberating Voices: Oral Tradition in African American Literature.
Praise for Gayl Jones’ Corregidora:
“Gayl Jones’s special gift is to shape experience and make it seem unshaped.”
—John Alfred Avant, The New Republic
“Corregidora is the most brutally honest and painful revelation of what has occurred, and is occurring, in the souls of Black men and women.”
“Gayl Jones has concocted a tale as American as Mount Rushmore and as murky as the Florida swamps.”
Praise for Gayl Jones’ Eva’s Man: