One final battle crowns a lifetime of struggle for the hard-working, African American family man at the center of this moving first novel. In honest and lyrical prose, Pate explores the American dream, the inner city, the hope and sorrow of parenthood and the fragility of life. As Absalom Goodman lies dying in a Philadelphia hospital with his wife Gwen and two grown children gathered around him, his mind retraces the journey of his life and surveys the results of his ceaseless labors. Gwen and both children reflect on their roles within this family and the fundamental strength of Absalom, which guided them.
Sonny, now part of predominantly white corporate America, returns home to confront a life he thought he had left behind. Rainy, an aspiring singer who lives in the family homestead with her boyfriend, lives in a different kind of denial. Gwen and Absalom hope to hold on, both for themselves and for these children who still so obviously need them. Alexs Pate’s restrained writing steers clear of the maudlin while gracefully illuminating both the contemporary and timeless aspects to his tale. Amid the realities of decay and dying can be glimpsed a brief, fragile vision of strength and hope. — Publishers Weekly