Rated of 5
by Bonnie Brody
Interesting subject matter and sensuous language
Hellenga is the author of one of my favorite books, The 16 Pleasures. While this book does not come up to this, it has its definite merits. It is about a college professor named Jackson who is dealing with an existential crisis - should he return to Mbutu where he had done anthropological work and has a Mbutu lover and child, or should he remain in Illinois, continue teaching and get married. He meets Sunny, a woman recently released from jail after shooting her husband when he tried to push her hand into a can of squirming rattlesnakes. Sunny's church believes in snake-handling and drinking strychnine which is not that unusual for churches in S. Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee. Jackson and Sunny begin a love affair and Jackson, the penultimate anthropologist becomes interested in Sunny's church. He visits the church and gets to know its members, including Sunny's husband.