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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Tony Lindsay Presents..."A Look at Gayl Jones"

In 1975, Gayl Jones’ first novel Corregidora was published. The heart wrenching work was edited by Toni Morrison. The storyline centers around a family derived from rape, incest, and prostitution. The rawness of the narrative is without equal. In the work, there is a conflict between what is erotica and what is empathetic prose, and this leaves the reader uncertain; either one should be sexually stimulated or cry tears of sorrow, or scream in anger.

The novel opens with the protagonist, Ursa Corregidora, being stalked by a jealous husband who throws her down the stairs and causes her to lose her “womb.” Within the tale Gayl Jones constructs, this introduction is mild compared to the agony and ecstasy that follows. Nothing that occurs in the novel is expected.
“I knew you was gonna come out a girl even while you was in me. Put my hand on my belly, and knew you was gonna be one of us. Little long-haired girl on my lap. You come out baldheaded though. They just kept looking at me, Mama and Gram. I knew they hated me then. Cause you come out all baldheaded. White skin before you got the little pigment you got now, and baldheaded. They hated me, but then your hair start to sprout, and get real long. I used to put a little ribbon on your head so people would know you was a girl . . . I knew you’d be a girl. I knew my body would have a girl” (117).

A talent of Gayl Jones’ is to being able to place a reader in the moment of the scene; one is dropped into the life she creates and forced to fin for ones’ self. Corregidora is 185 pages of family trauma, love, sex, and survival.

Tony Lindsay is an award-winning author and adjunct professor at Chicago State University. His new book ONE DEAD DOCTOR is available now on He can be reached at or on Facebook at

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