New Orleans in the mid-nineteenth century is a city overflowing with white aristos, black creoles, and African slaves, a city that pulses with crowds, with commerce, and with the power and spectacle of the voodoo religion. At the center of the ritual is Marie Laveau, the notorious voodooienne, worshipped and feared by blacks and whites alike. Marie's followers claimed that she walked on water and sucked poison from a snake's jowls, that she raised the dead and murdered two men. Voodoo Dreams is the spellbinding story of the woman behind the legend. Raised by her Grandmere in the Louisiana bayou, Marie ventures to New Orleans and begins a journey of self-discovery, hoping to find her lost Maman and understand the visions that haunt her dreams. Instead, she runs headlong into the brutality of slavery and oppression, and into the arms of John, the voodoo doctor who promises to teach her what Grandmere will not. As she falls under his spell, John sweeps Marie into a world of voodoo ceremonies, of drama and manipulation, and of sometimes terrifying power. A mesmerizing combination of history and storytelling, Voodoo Dreams marks the debut of an important new voice in fiction.
Jewell Parker Rhodes is a professor of American literature and creative writing at Arizona State University. The recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Award in Fiction, she lives with her husband and two children in Scottsdale, Arizona.
"An overwhelming journey navigated with skill and imagination . . . captures the dazzle and showmanship of voodoo." --Los Angeles Times
"Bewitching . . . a character of vast dimension and feminine power." --Booklist
"Splendid intuition and a deft narrative style . . In her first novel, Rhodes demonstrates that she possesses as much conjuring literary ability as some of the most outstanding writers in the United States." --Houston A. Baker, Jr., African-American Review
"Marie Laveau is the most interesting character in American culture . . . I loved it." --Whoopi Goldberg