FORBIDDEN BROWNSTONES BY CLIFFORD BROWDER
Can an obsession that enriches your life also destroy it? New York City, mid-1800s.
Junius Fox, an educated young black man, is fascinated by the brownstones where the white gentry live. He yearns to live in one, to know it and possess it.
Junius finds work as a waiter in a brownstone owned by a widow. When the widow dies, Junius gets a job as butler in the sumptuous brownstone of the notorious Madame Ida,
who runs the most exclusive brothel in the city. Ida offers her aging white male clientele the illusion of freshness, propriety, and youth. Junius is respected by the other black servants as their boss; feared by the girls, since he can report on them to Ida; and treated with deference by the gentlemen callers, since as gatekeeper he decides who gets in and who does not. He has power.
Junius loves the house's ornate furnishings, savors its aromas, caresses its surfaces, and even finds love with Ida's personal maid, Thelma. As Ida ages and shows signs of dementia, he and Thelma run the brownstone. But his hold on it is threatened by racial and sexual prejudice, a sudden death in the parlor, and an obsessive desire to fully possess the brownstone that involves him in fantasies of arson and murder. In the end he must decide between Thelma, now his wife, and his beloved but dangerous obsession, the most momentous decision of his life.
READ OUR REVIEW
VISIT AUTHOR'S WEBSITE