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My Soul to Keep Hardcover – Jun 12 1997


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 346 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Canada / Fiction (June 12 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060187425
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060187422
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 16.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,570,245 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

Tananarive Due is intrigued by how unfolding timelines and alternate destinies impinge on people's lives. "How frightening it is," she writes, "when fate is at liberty to take over what will has begun." As in her absorbing first novel, The Between, My Soul to Keep is about what happens when the domestic joy of a middle-class African American family (in this story, he's a jazz scholar, she's a reporter, and they have a 5-year-old daughter) is shattered by supernatural forces and memories of events long past. The story is deeply involving because of the characters' appeal, and suspenseful because the loving husband (who turns out to be a 500-year-old immortal) is so alien, he's utterly unpredictable. The passages recalling the husband's experiences as a slave in the American South in the 1800s are especially gripping. It's a melodramatic approach to dark fantasy, but it works well.

From School Library Journal

YA?From the beginning, Jessica knows that David is different, but life with him seems perfect. With the birth of their daughter, life should be blissful. However, his ageless face and his perfect skin cause her investigative-reporter instincts to start questioning. Also, his lack of interest in the events of her life and work cause her to doubt the completeness of their marriage. By chance, a newspaper story Jessica writes on elder care evolves into a book proposal. Research into one of the cases leads mysteriously to David?her David. As the story develops, Jessica learns the truth about her husband and the choice he made so many centuries ago. David sold his soul for eternal life on Earth. He tells her he is not David, but Dawit, an immortal. Now he is offering her the same choice, against the doctrine of this secret society of believers. Readers are introduced to their world before Jessica discovers the truth. Present-day human interaction and the ways of the immortals are woven together with imagination and suspense. Traditional religious values, exhibited by Jessica's family, add another dimension to the plot and impact on the woman's reaction when she learns the truth. Those familiar with Anne Rice's novels will be instantly drawn into the world of Dawit and the society created by the immortals.?Beth Devers, Elmhurst Public Library, IL
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Paperback
The strength of this novel lies in the possibility of life after death. In the last few books that I've read, not by choice but by happenstance I keep running into this theme of immortality. Of the fear of death. What makes this novel different is that we get the fear from the perspective of Dawit/David who is immortal and is not afraid of dying but off his family doing so. After he kills a child who now lies in a nursing home and then must kill his wife's friend a reporter who uncovers a clue about him and then Khladun, creator of the Immortals from the blood of Christ, we see how complicated immortality is.
The concept of changing identities every twenty or thrity years is posisble to imagine. But there are things that must be sacrificed. Children, love, even to a degree notoriety because this is what ultimately starts unraveling David's cover, his notoriety in one life is flickering like a flame at the edges of his new one.
Here's what I wonder, do the ties that bind African-American communities, the inter-relationships, ultimately put David at a greater risk? Being not the majority percentage in America given enough connectability, isn't there the possibility that if not related in blood, most African-American are by story, by some touchstone?
Is immortality particularly dangerous to David because he's passing for Black in a country where someone of his intellect and ability to pick up talents would stand out, much along the lines of "the Talented 10th"? The book then brings us to another question, what are you willing to die and kill for? And Ms. Due suggests that the easiest kills are the ties that bind us because there will come a point if we live long enough that they strangle.
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By A Customer on Dec 28 2001
Format: Paperback
The first time I picked up this novel and read a couple pages, my heart beat a little faster because I knew what I was in for a real treat. The story is a tragic love story, albeit a strange one. I hate it when reviewers describe detailed scenes in the book, so I'll skip the deconstruction and analysis, and just provide my opinion: It really blew away my expectations because it was an exceptionally well-written supernatural thriller. (My favorite kind of book in the world!) Hard to find because it's hard to do. You try to convince the cynical reader that what's incredible can actually be credible--good luck. The prologue and chapter 1, tell you everything about the two main characters. The first chapter was quietly harrowing, I found that I was tensing up as I read on, which is probably the best review that I can give to a book. I forgot I was reading a work of fiction and was totally into the shared reality thing. I am giving this book 4 stars (4 and a half stars if I could) and not 5 because there are a couple subplots that should have been developed a little more --could have had better editing - maybe?, it's not perfect, but why sweat the small details? Overall, it is better than good. T. Due is a graceful, talented storyteller! She authors with a voice, emotion and a beat that is hers, I will certainly be reading the rest of her novels. I'm starting on The Living Blood now (the sequel) and it promises to be even better, I can tell already that the style is more polished and it's going to take me where I want to go!
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By A Customer on June 22 2001
Format: Paperback
This novel was on my "to read list" for a couple of months before I finally checked it out at the library. I checked it out three times afterward, and finally they said I couldn't check it out! That is when I knew I had to own the book. The story of David/Dawit and Jessica, and the Life Brothers of Lalibela is one of the most compelling stories I have ever read. The characters were so real to me that sometimes I found myself dreaming of them. Tananarive Due is an amazing, gifted writer. It's been a long time since I have read a novel that totally captivated me from the beginning. I get sooo tired of reading the same novels OVER AND OVER again, about people who can't find a man, or people cheating on their mates. The same he/say she say drama that has proliferated black fiction, unfortunately. Here comes Ms. Due, a new voice in speculative fiction, to rescue people like me from boredom! Thank you, thank you! I was there, in Ethiopia and Miami with the characters, all the way! Everyone should read this novel and definitely go see the movie!
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By Amazon Customer on June 19 2001
Format: Paperback
This is one of those books that while you read your eyes may be burning, you know you have to get up at 5:30 am the next morning and you still have to do some chores around the house, but you just DON'T CARE. There is nothing that could tear that book from my hands. This is my first book by this author and I can't even pronounce her name correctly, but I am a fan for life.
The book started off with a sense of mystery and suspence. Things on the surface seemed okay, but I knew, as anyone who reads this book will know, that things are just not as they seem. Then Tananarive took me on the ride of my life. I wanted so much to hate Dawit and I just couldn't. I wanted Jessica to get away from him and then I wanted her to stay with him forever. "Forgive him, he loves you!" I screamed and cried. Why won't these people listen to me. Dawit is an immortal who has lived for over 500 years when we meet him. Jessica is a reporter with a loving family. When a story she's working on leads her to find out about Dawit and who he is, especially how he fits into her life, all hell breaks loose. This book takes the reader, especially me, on an emotional roller coaster. There were times when I had to put the book down saying that I just can't take it anymore, but it wouldn't be ten seconds before I picked it up again.
Tananarive made every character so real that I couldn't help but care for each of their well being. Another great characteristic of her writing is that I never wanted to skip part because they were boring. I may have wanted to skip ahead to see what would happen, but never because a part was too boring or too wordy.
In summing up my review, I really don't want to say anything that will give away the story or plot, but this story reminded me of Octavia Butler's work.
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