'Portable Promised Land'
(Hardcover / 304 Pages / Little Brown & Company; 1st edition / ISBN: 0316666432 / $23.95)
Description: Soul City, a place where racial divisions are juxtaposed and black love flows freely, is the main setting for 'The Portable Promised Land,' a debut collection of short stories by Touré. Buoyant and edged with magical realism, stories such as "The Steviewondermobile"; "A Hot Time at the Church of Kentucky Fried Souls and the Spectacular Final Sermon of the Right Revren Daddy Love"; and "The Sad, Sweet Story of Sugar Lips Shinehot, the Man with the Portable Promised Land" are moving testaments to the urban black experience, comingling or interchanging music, religion, and human failings with dramatic and comic effect.
Verdict: 'The Portable Promised Land' is portable laughter, portable epiphany, and a portable good time. I brought it up to my roof and read some of it aloud to my roomate. I read one story to my boyfriend. This book wanted, begged even, to be shared aloud. I laughed at Toure's caricatures of black urban life (the redundancy of fast food fried chicken chains in Brooklyn), at his crazy imagination (an enormous preacher jumps into the air and hovers fifty feet above his congregation) and at the strokes of linguistic genius that elevate a story from the merely entertaining to a seriously sweet read. I also like that his "Afrolexicology" list includes "Vodou" - spelled according to proper Haitian Creole.
Reviewed By Haley Johnson