Unabashedly sentimental and preachily uplifting, Busia's sprawling first novel maps the physical, erotic and spiritual migrations of Solomon Wilberforce. Under the pseudonym of Beento Blackbird, Solomon is a gifted writer of children's books that enlighten black children all over the world about their rich African cultural roots. A blend of American, Caribbean and African antecedents, he's the walking embodiment of the multicultural African diaspora. He seems to have it all and then some: genius, charisma, great looks and the devotion of three women. Solomon spends winters on the Caribbean island of Cape Corcos with Miriam (nine years his senior) and summers in Ghana with his young bride, Ashia. In New York, his literary agent, a woman named Sam, has been in love with him for years, completely unaware of his other lives. Busia enriches her narrative with glimpses of her native Ghana and scenes in London and New York. Too often, however, she mistakes purple prose for lyricism and sentimentality for true feeling. Only late in the story, when the precarious balance of Solomon's life goes awry, do the characters experience anything remotely resembling a convincing crisis. And even then, the resolution lacks gravity. At one point, Busia writes that Solomon's "inner child was eager to come out and show him how to lead the children into a bright new world." This is book is written with a similar, wide-eyed eagerness.

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