Soul Kiss: A Novel

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Riverhead Books, 1997 - Fiction - 207 pages
1 Review
The story begins with a bus ride from Manhattan, Kansas, to a small town in Georgia in 1968. Seven-year-old Mariah Kin Santos is on a trip with her beautiful, sad mama, just the two of them, as always. When they reach the porch of a tidy white house, her mother rings the doorbell, is greeted coolly by her two maiden aunts, conducts a brief, cryptic conversation with them, and then flees, leaving Mariah in the care of two old strangers who claim to be family. Mariah's mother, devastated by yet another failed love affair, is sliding out of control, and rather than endanger the adoration her little girl has for her, she abandons the child before the good memories go bad.
After a difficult start, Mariah and her aunts come to form a strangely harmonious threesome - soft, round Faith teaches Mariah to play the piano; strong, fierce Merleen teaches her to drive and to garden - but Mariah still dreams of her mother's glorious return and the far-off father she has never known. As a teenager nursing a nascent rebellion, she begins a flirtatious correspondence with him and before long travels to Los Angeles to confront the hero of her imagination. For his part, her father is suddenly face to face with a replica of the woman he loved passionately fourteen years earlier, and she is his daughter.

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User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

This first novel by playwright and storywriter Youngblood (The Big Mama Stories, 1989) is a young girl's tale of sadness and longing. It's also an erotic odyssey that seems to trace the narrator's ... Read full review

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User Review  - greytone - LibraryThing

Few books speak so clearly in the voice of a female adolescent and this one accurately hits the nail on the head. A troubled single mother, the absent father immortalized and embellished in ... Read full review


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About the author (1997)

Shay Youngblood is a playwright, essayist, and author of the Big Mama Stories, Soul Kiss and Black Girl in Paris. Her short stories have been performed at Symphony Space and recorded for NPR's Selected Shorts. During a 2012 residency in Japan, she researched a project on the subject of architecture and memory. She is currently the Dallas Museum of Art, Writer in Residence and Yaddo Artist Colony board member.

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