Hmm ... racism, homosexuality, redemption, a southern setting—you've got my attention, press release for a self-published novel. Tell me more.
Elijah, the protagonist in the book by the same name, is a black baby born into a white southern Klan family. His father hates the child and plans to kill him and the mother. The seven-year-old brother challenges the father and saves the child, hiding Elijah in a dark basement.
Alright, so far so good.
There, Elijah is visited by the ghosts of great composers and is taught by them.
Well, that's a twist I didn't see coming, but sure, I'll go along with it. Continue.
He becomes a child prodigy, and he and his brother Joshua ultimately become lovers.
Wait, why does he become lovers with—
Elijah's future father also becomes Elijah's lover and is able to help guide Elijah to a happy and useful life.
Wait wait wait, slow down—he has sex with his brother and his adoptive father? Now, I am a southerner who'd get it on with a cousin just to keep a proud, offensive regional stereotype alive ("Always keep them yankees guessing" is my motto), but nuclear-family incest crosses the line, even in salacious self-published novels.
See, when I was visited by the ghost of To Kill a Mockingbird film composer Elmer Bernstein last year, he specifically told me, "Homosexuality's no big deal, but incest is bad bad bad. Avoid it at all costs. Even if your sister looked like Natalie Wood in her prime, it'd still be a dicey proposition." And what if you're a guy and your brother looks like a young Robert Redford? Or your adoptive dad looks like a late-'70s Warren Beatty? "That bastard still owes me money!"
Obviously a sore subject for Mr. Bernstein's ghost. I didn't bring it up again, and he hasn't visited since. And I'm still not a 32-year-old child prodigy of film-score composing, so thanks for nothin', Elmer. But, you know ... rest in peace and all.