More Than You Know by Rosalyn Story Agate, September 2004 $24.95, ISBN 0-972-45628-7
What comes to mind first as I finish Rosalyn Story's fiction debut, More Than You Know, is simply "wow." Some people just know how to spin a tale. A newcomer to fiction, Story writes with the plot-twisting precision of a veteran and a lyricism reminiscent of James Baldwin's novel-turned-serenade Sonny's Blues.
Her story begins more than 40 years in the past, when a 9-year-old boy delivers an abandoned baby to the doorstep of a beauty shop. Sworn to secrecy by the birth mother and paid the tidy sum of $2, young L.J. Tillman hands over the baby to the owner and disappears.
Fast-forwarding to the present, we discover a middle-aged L.J., a disillusioned saxophonist whose once comfortable life in Kansas City has been reduced to that of a homeless New York City street performer. The downturn began almost a year earlier, after he...