Nubian Circle Book Club

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The Portable Promised Land Book Review

Phyllis Rhodes

The Portable Promised Land is a refreshing, eclectic collection of short stories and a set of unique listings. Toure' takes the reader to an alternate dimension in which we experience public divorces in "The Breakup Ceremony", up close and personal church services in a former Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant in "A Hot Time at the Church of Kentucky Fried Souls and the Spectacular Final Sunday Sermon of the Right Revren Daddy Love", and the story of a man who desires freedom (by eliminating all white men) and engages Reverend Scratch (a.k.a. the Devil) to make it happen in "The Sad, Sweet Story of Sugar Lips Shinehot, the Man with the Portable Promised Land". There are many more wonderful, noteworthy stories in the novel that center around the Black Experience that truly showcase this author's talent, for example, "The Sambomorphosis" features a BUPPIE couple dealing with a Sambo-like child and in another, all the sentences begins with "A".

For this reviewer, the listings are the most thought-provoking portions of the book. In "My History", Toure' bulletizes ideas that makes one wonder, "what if": Bird and Basquiat survive heroin; Marcus Garvey sets sail for Liberia, taking one million people with him; Harriet Tubman led her 100,000th slave through the Underground Railroad and into freedom; James Earl Ray's bullet misses; the bomb never goes off in Birmingham; Marley never dies; Angela Davis, Assata Shakur, and Geronimo Pratt are never caught; etc.

This work is a deviation from the normal relationship reads and is one of the best representations in creative writing I have read in a while. Toure's writing is fresh, hip, edgy and creative--- the stories are full bodied, original, and entertaining. This was a wild, enjoyable read and I am anxiously awaiting his next release.

The Nubian Circle Book Club rating for The Portable Promised Land is 5 out of 5 stars.  We welcome your comments and thoughts about this book review. Please e-mail us at this address: