Nubian Circle Book Club

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Corregidora Book Review

Phyllis Rhodes

Deep, Dark, and Gripping!

From the moment Ursa Corregidora is able to listen, she is told by her great-grandmother that she must retain "the evidence" in order to pass it on to her children. Initially, one would think this is a harmless request. However, "the evidence" is an oral history of how her great-grandmother was raped and then used as a whore by her white slave owner, Corregidora, as was her daughter (Ursa's grandmother) after her. Corregidora then impregnates Ursa's grandmother (his biological daughter) to produce Ursa's mother. 

Not only is this a disturbing history for a child to commit to memory, but her great-grandmother's resentment and distrust of men were also passed onto a young Ursa. Her light skin and fine hair causes her to be ostracized by black women and desired by black men.  She expresses her lifelong frustrations in the form of song and has moderate success as a blues singer in the small local club circuit.  Ursa finds herself suffering emotionally, verbally, and physically at the whim of her husband, Mutt, who begins to exhibit the same jealousy, possessiveness, and envy that her great-grandmother shared regarding her relationship with Corregidora.

Through flashbacks and internal memories, we understand Ursa's mental anguish when trying to discern between the painful slave legacy and her present day household situation. True to the mindset of the time, a woman's childbearing ability is looked upon as her only source of power and we see Ursa's torment further exacerbated when her ability to pass "the evidence' to her children is jeopardized. This book addresses racism, slavery, and sexism on several different levels. 

Be warned--it grips the reader from the beginning and goes deep in a very I experienced difficulty following the dialogue at times but I hung in there and relied on inference to follow the author's insinuations; and despite this one 'snag', I was not disappointed with Ms. Jones' first novel. This is a short but complex read; it is not for everyone, however I found it was a worthwhile literary departure from the "norm."

The Nubian Circle Book Club rating for Corregidora is 3.5 of 5 stars.  Please e-mail us at this address: