The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough is a brilliantly written modern fable. Love and Death become flesh and embark upon a game as old as Romeo and Juliette, Paris and Helen and all of the other tragic stories Love records in his notebook. Death doesn’t record anything by pen, but she always remembers her victims and this time she’s especially hungry to win.
Love chooses a boy named Henry who is being raised by a wealthy family in Seattle during the Great Depression. Death chooses Flora, an African-American girl of many talents. When Flora isn’t signing jazz at The Domino, she’s at the airfield, dreaming of one day piloting a plane of her own. Henry is a musician too, as well as a loyal friend and dreamer. One look at Flora and he’s a gonner. Everyone else in their life thinks an interracial love affair is doomed–which is exactly what Death’s betting on.
I especially enjoyed how The Game of Love and Death was told in the third person with a strong narrator. Dipping in and out of heads to find out what characters were thinking was delicious. Without giving away any spoilers, I was never quite sure about Love and Death’s relationship. Were they friends? Enemies? Did they really need or want each other? Death and Love had a Dangerous Liaisons vibe about them that kept the book moving.
Good luck, Henry and Flora. You’re going to need it.