Blackgammon (2000)


A sweeping, unforgettable debut novel that traces remarkable parallel voyages of self-discovery, Blackgammon reveals the intertwined lives of two African-American women--soul sisters whose vow to stay true to one another will carry them through love, loss, and triumph on the way to finding out who they really are . . . and who they were meant to be.After twenty-five years of self-imposed exile in Paris, legendary African American artist Chloe Emmanuel faces a daunting prospect: the chance of a triumphant return to the United States. She came to the City of Light in search of freedom . . . the freedom to paint, freedom from a love that nearly destroyed her, freedom from the racial strife in the country she once called home. Swept into the seductive world of high fashion and art gallery intrigues, Chloe finds that Paris posed its own set of challenges--the pressures of living up to her acclaimed reputation, the difficulty of expressing her feelings without a brush, the vow always to remain strong and directed, and the hope of never again allowing a man to turn her away from her dreams.While Chloe reflects on her life, her relationships, and the meaning of her art, she begins to wonder: Is her artistic success linked to her "inability to love," as an enigmatic lover once suggested? If that is true, Chloe must somehow help her younger "sister" and closest friend, Michael Davies Northcross, who is confronting a devastating personal crisis of her own.A distinguished African-American professor in England, married to a brilliant British scholar, Michael has modeled her life on the lies that Chloe has lived. When a visiting professor challenges not only her marriage but her reasons for staying devoted to a white man, Michael must sort through the half-truths and deceptions-- and find her way back to that fragile place where real love exists.Unwilling to sacrifice the dreams they dared to make real, Chloe and Michael are forced to the limits of their strength and independence. They must gamble everything to recapture what they have lost . . . in a dazzling game called Blackgammon.

Author of Blackgammon