Books: Hard Love

Two Cities portrays three troubled souls

John Edgar Wideman subtitles his eighth novel, Two Cities (Houghton Mifflin; 242 pages; $24), "A Love Story," but his version of that familiar genre seems at times the antithesis of standard romance. Robert Jones, 50, meets Kassima, 35, at a dance club, and she eventually invites him back to her house. Good sex leads to good conversation and then to love, an emotion that fills Kassima with terror and dread. Within a recent span of 10 months, both of her teenage sons were killed by gang violence in her Pittsburgh neighborhood and their father died of aids he contracted in prison....

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