Will You Be Mine?
Here is the distinguished novelist's stab at presenting a different kind of love story. “I wanted a black male narrator who is tender and passionate,” says Beckham. “At the same time,” he adds, “readers will find my usual elements of exaggerated reality and social commentary.” His narrator is a 50-year-old African-American photographer whose third wife, Chinita-twenty years younger-has just died after a painful bout with “the disease that keeps growing.” Caught in Washington, DC traffic and listening to talk radio as he drives toward his beach house, the narrator has the perfect audience-a sympathetic Teddy bear. The photographer's rumination is really a description of his long search for his soul mate, his earth angel. It has taken more than half of his life to find her. His musings are poignant explorations of the full range of passion and romance. At the same time, the events take on surreal, comic and tragic tones as he negotiates his way in a society that seems obsessed with stifling and subjugating his manhood. For the African-American male in the last half of the twentieth century, says Beckham, it is a painfully difficult challenge trying to foster a loving, tender relationship filled with passion and joy.