A good read
The book reads like a movie. I could see and practically feel the spiritual struggle the five women face when dealing with the patriarchal ideology of not only their situation, but the world, and even God.
I highly recommend The Melting Points to anyone who likes spy novels or romance, especially if you're looking for unexpected twists. The twists in this book are not only in the plot but at least for me, there was a message in this book about the spiritual sisterhood of characters.
Up at Night
began reading the book last night and read late into the night. I like
it a lot! Update: Over the weekend I finished reading. The characters
wore me out! They are so multi-dimensional! I found their spiritual
search refreshing. I wasn’t ready for the story to end. As a matter of
fact, I yelled, “Don’t do this to me!” However, I do understand why the
author ended the story this way. Ok, so when will he begin writing Part
2????? I’m ready for the ex-cop and the covert operative to team up!!
On planet earth
This is the first big multicultural novel I’ve read. In it whites and blacks, males and females are dramatized as actively in search on planet earth for the human spirits’ path to redemption. The conflict in the novel arises from the very different ways that the path can look. In this respect there are not villain, just people who feel that to get what they must have, they must do things to other people.
Readers fall in love with the character who sees the path as the reader does, but in so doing the reader comes to understand those who see it differently. Of course there are heroes and heroines. All of the characters are, in their own way. They are all just “trying to get over,” as Curtis Mayfield says in the song “Superfly”. This is an intelligent story
This is a spy thriller and a romance novel, but it is also a story about the dangers we all face in the new century. We are all menaced by the historical, psychological, and spiritual forces who need spies to practice their deadly craft. Most of us are searching for love, but all of us are searching for redemption; and so we live through these well-drawn characters in this cleverly plot story. We turn pages rapidly to learn their fate because we are concerned about our own. George Davis is not just a good writer, but an excellent one.
Coming Home comes again
Literature takes many interesting turns and none much more interesting than the one made by George Davis in his new novel, The Melting Points. In this new, long, cinematically written story, Davis turns back towards his first novel, Coming Home, published in 1972. Coming Home is the novel upon which the Academy Award-winning Vietnam War Film by Jane Fonda was loosely based.
In the book the love triangle is between a white woman and a black man. In the film, of course, the black male became a physically handicapped white male, in order that Jane Fonda would not be casted making love on screen to a black man, say, the reigning black superstar at the time, football legend Jim Brown.
Jane was “radical’ enough to hang with The Black Panthers, and Huey P. Newton in real life, but on screen interracial love-making was too “radical.” This new novel contains matters far more “radical” than the old one, and just about an equal distance ahead of their time.
Thinking about Oprah
George Davis' new novel is a long book (400 pages) but it is a fast read. It takes you to a place quickly and then it takes you to another place, as the characters are in and out of situations that are not just dangerous as in other thrillers, but also interesting and revealing of deeper matters. The whole idea about spirituality gives a deeper theme.
I am a person who believes in "the old time religion." as one character in the book calls it. But I am also attracted to the newer self-help kind of faith. For a woman this brings up a very interesting choice. Do you put more stock in "the faith of our fathers" or are you brave enough to start really believing, not just saying you believe, but really believing in the divinity of women.
This is the crisis that faces, Elaine Ellison. When reading about her I kept thinking about Iyanla Vanzant because I do watch Oprah's Life class. What if Iyanla was on a luxury Caribbean vacation with two girl friends? What if the CIA, for real, thought that she had a disc with secrets vital to national interest?
What if a nest of spies from other nations thought so also? Well she actually did have secrets, All of the women did, but they were not the kinds of secrets that the CIA suspected. They were secrets that would upset the white male hierarchy of the nation and the secrets were not on a disc but in women's souls.
I thought about how much Oprah, who the characters make small talk about in the book, has help to upset the male hierarchy by liberating so much feminine energy, or divinity, if you will.
The father of one of Elaine's friends, Brenda Dixon-Tyler, reminds me of the late Congressman, Adam Clayton Powell, so Brenda's struggle is not so much with sexual repression, but with the history that hangs over her. As a daughter of privilege what does she feel about the system that gave her the privilege?
Maria Jones just wants a "good man." You know, one of those "I want to know what that feels like" sorta things." Her desires are not as complex as the other friends; but they could be just as hard to fulfill. These are the dramatic situations that The Melting Points set up.
These characters fit into a series of plots and sub-plots filled with an array of interesting characters. This is definitely a novel of adventure and it takes you to some pretty scary places. I don't want to give away the ending, but I love this book. It makes you think about who you are and how dangerous your truth might be to the pillars of an American society that has reached melting points.
There are two kinds of spiritual books. One is the Sci Fi ones where the spirit world is filled with monsters who have come to earth to do bad stuff. Then there are the ones that we call spiritual self-help books that say that what is out in the spirit world is love, peace, understanding and spiritual oneness. The Melting points tells a story in which both forces are out there because what is actually “out there” is us.
What is unusual is that the novel gives a sense of what is “out there” through its characters rather than by the introducing any artificial angels or demons. Nor does it use avant-garde writing techniques, as does experimental fiction. It uses the kind of straight forward prose that a reader should expect from an author who has had great success in popular media --fiction and nonfiction books, and print and online journalism.
Professor Davis has written this tale with prose befitting the spy-novel genre. The characters are true to life. They are like people we know. Scenes are constructed with an attention to detail that allows you to feel that you are in the scene with the characters, seeing what they see, hearing with they hear, feeling their fears and joys. You are sharing their world and then, somehow, you find that the world that you are sharing has other dimensions.
Love and Espionage
I was interviewed by the George Davis for Love, Black Love, way back in the day. My therapist read the story about me in that book and said she got insights into my mental make up, especially my relationship with my father that she had not gotten in more than a year of working with me as a client. I guess it’s good to see how Daddies really sees Daddies’ little girls.
An except of Love, Black Love was one of the most celebrated cover story for Essence back in the 70s, which is quite an honor for a male writer who does not pander to women. Of course a man can never know us as we know ourselves, but by listening well, there are men who can point out things that we no longer notice about ourselves.
This is what makes the characters in this book so interesting. The characters actions un-masks desires that we, as women, admit to only when someone points them out, and often not then if they are too accusatory. We become defensive.
But when those desires are pointed out in very dramatic fashion about someone we’ve identified with in a story, we feel safe owning them, as when the killer operative confronts her CIA superior and says quite calmly: “. . . “Colonel Weaver, do you know you’re an asshole? . . . No, really, I’m serious. You must know it.”
She calmly explains something to the Colonel. He disagrees: “That’s what makes you an asshole.” I am not a man hater but at the end of the scene when the killer operative says: “Colonel. You’re pathetic,” I thought of male bosses I’ve had in the past.
What woman has not wanted to go in to her boss, with a gun in her purse so she has no fear of him rising up (in fact this character wishes he would). There is no concern about his attacking her, no concern about getting fired, or ruining any possibility of getting a reference for a future job in the male controlled system.
You are totally free. That’s a very delicious feeling but I point it out only as a very obvious example of the way the characters in the novel are struggling towards exactly that kind of freedom.
I now advocate that women should go to male therapists, if they can find one who does not pander, who does not secretly dislike or even hate women. Who is not a father-figure who wants to save or protect. Or one who wants to have sex with you but does not admit it to himself. Maybe like a very smart, very experienced older brother who loves you more than he loves manhood.
Because men have distorted this reality, they see some things about the process of distortion that women may not see. Without patronizing this novel dramatizes the games that men have us all caught up in; and the struggle of not just the three main female characters, but the “minor” female characters are riveting.
There is no doubt that the book was written by a man. Sentences and scenes have fairly high level of testosterone even as the story itself dramatizes the levels of greed, insensitivity, destruction, and depravity that patriarchy has wrought.
But unleashed feminine energy is the motivating spiritual power that leads to the dramatic conclusion. By finally getting a man to rise up against the situation that greed, destruction, and depravity have created, we are given hope for a better world.
David "Nick" Foster
The style of writing is certainly seductive. It draws you in. At the end of each chapter you sense that you've been pulled deeper. You know you are moving towards something dangerous. A very early, chilling paragraph in the story takes place at CIA headquarters after the three women had been discussed under their code name "Diana Ross and the Supremes :
"Johnson got up to leave, happy to have kept the lid on this meeting. A reality of his job was that small occurrences involving ordinary people were sometimes linked by invisible chains to events so large they could change history. Innocent people got killed, and those who knew the truth were forever bound to silence."
Everything is so innocent! Scenes shift from the vacationing women on the island back to CIA headquarters in Virginia, where you get the sense of how dangerous the waters are going to get. The writing is smooth like a swim on the Caribbean side of the island.
The water is so calm that you get further and further out until you look back and cannot see land. That is the feeling I got. Will God save you? Is anyone up there in the beautiful sky as sub-surface dangers lurk, and out in front of you is the wind tossed Atlantic ocean. Most of the story takes place back in New York; but you never quite loss the sense of being with characters who are facing a tropical hurricane.
“The novel is written in a very interesting way. On television all the time we see African American characters in dramas that take place in a white world, or in a black world. One of the things that gives this novel a different feel is that it has white characters (and black ones) operating in a truly multi-cultural world. . . the action and suspense pulls you in. . .Its a long novel but you can take a gulp now, and a gulp later, and you can’t wait until you can get back to it and take another gulp.”