This is an extraordinary book, and represents a significant rupture and advancement in African American writers.
The emphasis is on the intellectual, on international characters. This is not the same old story about blacks in America. This is international: about black scientists, spoken foreign languages and countries in Europe, Africa and Latin America. Gayl Jones reads 7 foreign languages, including Russian, Indonesian and Japanese, has lived in foreign countries, and has a scholar's knowledge of many subjects, including the history of world literature as her literary criticism book "Liberating Voices" (Harvard University Press, 1990) demonstrates.
This book is about breaking the intellectual limitations on black writers. The sheer hatred white America has for black intellect. The characters include a rich black German who owns and races horses in America; two black scientists who publish research papers in advance subjects and fields; Masai medicine woman in Kenya, etc.
New characters, new dimensions all integrated in a lively and fresh, very fresh, humorous and enlightening story.
The Healing truly represents not only an event in Beacon's publishing history--the first novel Ever to be originally published in its 143 years--not only an Event in African American literature, but an Event in American literature.
This is not just an African American novel. This is not just an American novel. Like its characters, it's a world novel. It's for the world. But true to the degradation of black intellect in America, I suspect most reviewers will omit entirely the points stated just above.