Nubian Circle Book Club

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Mojo: Conjure Stories Book Review

Phyllis Rhodes

Reader, Be Aware!


The introduction of Mojo:  Conjure Stories warns the reader to be aware, to adorn their protective beads, to pocket their jujubags and sets the stage for the mystical anthology contained therein.  The novel, edited by Nalo Hopkinson, is comprised of 19 short stories from noteworthy authors such as Steven Barnes, Tananarive Due, and Barbara Hambly.  All the tales are colorful, creative, and rooted in "mojo" a tricky, powerful, and dangerous magic with a West African flavor.


This is a diverse collection in that it traverses time to provide stories from the slave ships, the antebellum South, the Jim Crow era, the 1960's and even present day.  Some stories are rooted in folklore, e.g. Andy Duncan's "Daddy Mention and the Monday Skull",  while others address moral and societal issues such as incest, revenge, love, lust, and greed.  One of my favorites is Barbara Hambly's "The Horsemen and The Morning Star" in which plantation slaves garner strength and call upon their ancestor's gods to ride their weary backs to fight the master's resurrection of the devil to save one of their own.  Jarla Tangh's tale, "The Skinned," references the recent Rowandan tragedy and delivers a powerful message against the backdrop of the modern American inner city.  Another noteworthy mention is Jenise Aminoff's "Fate" in which a mother with the gift of sight tries desperately to alter her sons destiny and pays a high price in the end.


This reviewer found some stories a bit more challenging to follow than others, but believes there is enough variety in subject matter and writing style to satisfy even the most critical reader. This book covered multiple dimensions of conjuring:  from using black magic to control spirits, outwitting the tricksters, initiating curses, belief in shape-shifting to the making and manipulation of zombies.  It was an engaging and interesting read about a mystical and magical heritage.  One can surely gain hours of reading pleasure with this book.


The Nubian Circle Book Club rating for Mojo: Conjure Stories is 4 out of 5 stars.  We welcome your comments and thoughts about this book review.  Please e-mail us: