Karen McCarthy Brown’s classic book shatters stereotypes of Vodou by offering an intimate portrait of African-based religion in everyday life. She explores the importance of women’s religious practices along with related themes of family and of social change. Weaving several of her own voices — analytic, descriptive, and personal — with the voices of her subjects in alternate chapters of traditional ethnography and ethnographic fiction, Brown presents herself as a character in Mama Lola’s world and allows the reader to evaluate her interactions there. Startlingly original, Brown’s work endures as an important experiment in ethnography as a social art form rooted in human relationships. A new preface, epilogue, bibliography, and a collection of family photographs tell the story of the effect of the book’s publication on Mama Lola’s life.
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