A week after Easter 1973--following the lynching of Black church sexton Sam Jefferson--Lily Vida Wallace is dropped like an immigrant into Greenville, South Carolina. After returning home to Manhattan, Lily continues theological studies in anticipation of the overturn of a centuries-old, males-only priesthood and simultaneously struggles with her erratic engagement. When her fianc flees following discovery of professional impropriety and Atlanta attorney Rodney Davis lands in her path, a new love grows--accelerating Lily's understanding even as it challenges her na vet about race.
Some two decades later, high-profile interracial nuptials in Oakland, California, become the occasion for a reunion between the now Reverend Vida and Lucius Clay, the fiery journalist she met in South Carolina. Within weeks of their re-meeting, Lucius is dispatched to cover Black church burnings--beginning with Lily's hometown in Texas.
Writer Hilton Als recently commented: "We need to wake up to the fact that America is not one story. It is many, many, many stories." American Blues
offers no neat resolution. Instead, its timely story invites, as it tangles with, readers' own assumptions and complex experiences of race and gender in America.