"Gayl Jones's classic novel, the tale of blues singer Ursa, consumed by her hatred of the nineteenth-century slave master who fathered both her grandmother and mother. 'History and fiction have yielded little about those black slave women who were mistress and breeder to their white owners. There are some facts and figures, but they tell us nothing about the women themselves: their motives, their emotions, and the memories they passed on to their children. Gayl Jones's first novel is a gripping portrait of this harsh sexual and psychological genealogy.... Jones’s language is subtle and sinewy, and her imagination sure. 'Everything said in the beginning must be said better than in the beginning.' Ursa (Corregidora) vows. Gayl Jones fulfills that pledge.'--Margo Jefferson, Newsweek"