Populating this absorbing novel is a vivid cast of characters, each with his own story. Raleigh, the bigamist’s best friend and a substitute father to the girls, has forever been in love with Gwen, the illegitimate wife. The heavily mourned death of Miss Bunny, who raised the bigamist and Raleigh as brothers, has repercussions throughout the novel. Marcus and Jamal, boys slightly older than Chaurisse and Dana, awaken the girls’ sexuality. And the regulars at Laverne’s beauty salon form a sort of Greek chorus and are witnesses to the penultimate scene in the novel, a set piece at once horrifying and hilarious.