The story opens with Beauty and her estranged husband Caleb making passionate love. The following morning she throws him out. She cannot forgive him for disappearing for over a year and her thinking he is dead. Caleb is not one to give up easily. He loves Beauty and their children, and from the start the reader suspects that Caleb’s disappearance and supposed death have something to do with his job, and by not telling his wife he was protecting her and their children.
Beauty throws a birthday party for her sister Kyra and at the party Kyra is kidnapped and this sets the whole novel into motion. Searching for Kyra, sets up a fascinating drama that reveals the life and work of Beauty and Caleb’s family, friends, and network. It is a violent life, no matter how much they try to hide it and they will do anything to protect their interests and network of family, friends, and associates.
The characters in the story are almost all black, and the author gives the reader a fascinating look into the culture of black America and the differences between what is referred to as the ghetto and the mobile, upward moving aspects of the people who have made it out of the ghetto.
The book ends with a haunting poem that is separate from the story, but nevertheless quite relevant. I strongly recommend.