Night Work
Nelson George
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Buy *Night Work: A Novel* online

Night Work: A Novel

Nelson George
Simon & Schuster
304 pages
June 2003
rated 5 of 5 possible stars

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Nelson George is a bestselling author of both fiction and nonfiction and a filmmaker. His protagonists are products of the post-civil rights era, "a time of increased opportunity and lingering racial barriers, where relations between men and women are troubled, family obligations weigh heavily, and black culture is a source of inspiration, income and conflict." What is unique about his six works of fiction is that many of the characters overlap into one another's tale, tying the stories together in a creative sort of way.

In Night Work, Night is the name of the main character. He is a black man who grew up hating the color of his skin. It wasn't until his late teenage years that he learned to do more than accept the fact that he was black, learned to embrace and cherish who he was.

Night's mother died when he was young, leaving him and his sickly sister to fend for themselves against an angry father. A once-strong man involved in the black movement, their father turned in his aspirations and settled for a job as a postman.

Making a living is rarely easy, but Night enjoys his work. From strip-dancing at clubs and private parties, Night has become a high-priced gigolo fancied by wealthy white women. But he wants more. He is working toward achieving success as a singer; music has always been his passion. His connection, dancing in music videos, helps him get his foot in the door and lands him a shot at a big-time recording deal.

Just when everything seems to be falling into place, Night's world fades to black. His sister's migraines have gotten worse and her trips to the hospital more frequent. And all she wants is to see her big brother make amends with their father, now old and unwell. To top it all off, a party that Night performs at gets crazy fast, and despite his obligations as a whore, he refuses to partake in the S&M involved and takes off, leaving his influential clients very unhappy.

Things spin more out of control when Night thinks he might actually be falling in love with a supermodel named Beth Ann -- only Beth Ann might be incapable of loving. She and her best friend are tied up in a dangerous drug ring. She needs Night's help; the drug lords have threatened to kill her and her friend. Then one of Night's clients turns up murdered, and the police have him pegged as the prime suspect.

Night Work is breathtakingly fast-paced yet deep and thoughtful, powered by George's raw and powerful writing. Plenty takes place in the book, all of it keeping readers eager to turn pages. George has plenty to say and an authentic way of saying it. He tells it like it is, like it was, and how it should be. I have not read the other works of fiction by Nelson George. Rest assured, that will soon change.

© 2003 by Phillip Tomasso III for Curled Up With a Good Book

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