Two things tend to worry me in novels by authors I’ve never read before. One is a setting in a period of American history that’s more than 50 years in the past; the other is a story told from the point of view of two or more narrators. For her debut novel, Saint Monkey, Jacinda Townsend has done both of them. She writes from both Audrey’s and Caroline’s point of view, and the book is set in the late 1950s. What’s more, she shifts the story’s setting back and forth between the Jim Crow-era South and Harlem. These are all difficult tricks to pull off, but Townsend executes them effortlessly.
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