Tall, dark, and handsome, Prodigy Banks was once a playboy. Now he's a man any mother would be proud to call her son, and when he meets Nina, the mother of the young boy he mentors, it seems that life is going to get even better. But when his past threatens his newfound respectability, Prodigy has to act fast to protect his new relationship.
What his prose lacks in sophistication, Hunter makes up for in earnestness in this debut novel about the suburban African-American experience. Prodigy Banks works at a large Atlanta finance company, often paying more attention to his female co-workers than to his job. Despite his lady-killer habits, the handsome Prodigy is a picture of respectability, going to church, taking good care of his house and serving as a role model for his cousin Jermaine, who hasn't left the streets behind as quickly as Prodigy. Under the influence of his father figure Poppa Doc, Prodigy volunteers at a youth center, where he meets the adorable Blake and Blake's even more charming mother, Nina. She offers Prodigy his first chance to settle down, and he has to weigh that offer while trying to serve as peacemaker for the domestic disputes of his friends and family. Meanwhile, Poppa Doc has his own problems to work out, trying to motivate his spoiled son and restore some love to his daughter's marriage. Hunter has no confidence in subtext; he explains every gesture for the reader's benefit and his characters speak as if reading from the world's least subtle cue cards. Prodigy, in particular, is given to mouthing public service announcements about the black man's responsibility to family life. Still, Hunter's agenda is the strength of this book; even cynical readers may be won over by his relentless positive message and push for African-American communities built on respect and love. (June) Forecast: Like Shades of Jade, above, and Soul Mates Dissipate, below, this novel was a self-published hit; Villard is sending Hunter on an eight-city tour. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
December 31, 1999
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from The Hearts of Men by Travis Hunter
Caught with Your Pants Down
It was Friday morning, and Prodigy Banks was running just as late as he had the other four days of the week. After hitting the snooze button for the fifth time, he reluctantly arose at 7:20 A.M., pulling up his tired body and sitting on the side of his honey-oak sleigh bed. He then placed his head in the palm of his hands and proceeded with his morning ritual: trying his best to come up with a good lie to let his supervisor know he wouldn't be in the office that day.
It was not like he was ill; he just didn't feel like going to work, and now he was running out of excuses. He'd lost count of the number of times he'd said his grandfather died. In fact, his grandfather did die, but that was in 1978. After realizing he had already used all of his good excuses, he conceded. He forced himself up and into the bathroom.
Prodigy had never been a morning person, which was why he had to get out of the Army. He realized Uncle Sam's boys really did do more before nine A.M. than he planned on doing all day long. Plus, Simone, his manager and lover, spoiled him. She always covered for his tardiness.
Right now, she was the only one he was kicking it with, sort of. Slowly, Prodigy was trying to minimize his workload of women. He'd been with so many that it wasn't much fun anymore. Plus, he discovered that more than half of the women he dealt with didn't have anything going for them anyway. After sex, there wasn't much left for them to talk about.
Now he was shifting gears by trying to focus on a single relationship that was mentally as well as physically stimulating. His new motto was to screw up, not down, which meant he would bypass the rank and file to focus on kicking it with a woman of power and status. Rich women need love too, he thought. He didn't want his intentions misinterpreted, though. Just because he wanted a person who fit his definition of completeness didn't mean he was looking for a serious relationship. He relished his carefree bachelor life, but whoever it was who would be taking care of his physical needs had to bring more to the table than a cute face and a fat butt. And right now, Simone was bringing breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a fat butt.
Maybe that was why, whenever women around the job inquired about him, Simone's name always came up in the conversation. It was as if he was her property. Lately, though, she'd been getting on his nerves. She acted as if his sole purpose in life was to sit around and wait for her to get a moment away from her husband.
Damn that, he thought.
As he stared in the mirror, contemplating whether to give his already bald head a fresh shave, he noticed a white envelope that had been kissed by a set of juicy lips. He opened it and read the contents: I think it's time that I get a key to your place. Love, Simone.