Winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature, Toni Morrison presents an audacious vision of the nature of love, profound in its understanding of the vitality of the past. May, Christine, Heed, Junior, Vida, and L are women obsessed by Bill Cosey. More than the wealthy owner of the famous Cosey Hotel and Resort, he shapes their yearnings for father, husband, lover, guardian, and friend, yearnings that dominate these women's lives long after his death. Yet while he is both the void in, and the center of, their stories, he himself is driven by secret forces: a troubled past and a spellbinding woman named Celestial. Morrison's novel captures love's appetite, its sublime possession, and its dread in a subtly nuanced group of characters and strikingly imagined setting.
Like all of Morrison's best fiction, this is a village novel. Race and racism, ancillary concerns in Love for the most part, throw the small groups she writes about back upon one another, steeping their passions. Even when the setting is contemporary, Morrison's books feel old-fashioned, set in a world where the perpetual distraction of the media hasn't diluted people's fascination with their neighbors, where the misadventures of J.Lo and P. Diddy don't siphon off attention from the scandal next door. Morrison is, as always, interested in the face-off between the respectable and the not, between the clean, orderly, responsible citizens of Silk, the town where the Cosey women live, and the unchaste, shoeless ne'er-do-wells of neighborhoods like the Settlement and Up Beach, where one of the Cosey women started out. Laura Miller