Title: Oblivion Black
Author: Christa Wojciechowski
Publisher: Christa Wojciechowski
Published: August 8, 2022
In this psychological romance, Ona Price nearly dies from a heroin overdose on the streets of Manhattan. As she shoots up in a McDonald’s where she and her Puerto Rican friend Jojo purchased the narcotics, this art school dropout almost kills herself. Fearful of losing her daughter to addiction, Ona’s mom Donna determines she should live with her aunt Vivian or aunt Vee in New Hope.
Ona is required to go there and attend weekly NA meetings in addition to taking daily dosages of the drug methadone to deal with the withdrawals. She gets into a flow but eventually finds her new life and routine mundane, so she looks for work. On her first attempt, she gets hired as the assistant to renowned Russian artist Antoni Azarov, also known as The Hands of God.
Immediately I sensed something was amiss. She got the job too easily, and there is something off about the boss. Azarov appears distant, arrogant, and unkind. A magnificent artist, he fashions clay into the bodies of beautiful women from the models sitting naked before him, creating a gorgeous statue. But, while Ona doesn’t like him at first, his coldness melts as the two soften to one another over cigarette breaks, and she becomes accustomed to working with him and Oz, the Black man who hired her and is like a father to Azarov. The physical link is evident between Antoni and Ona as she cuddles up against him on the back of his Ducati and sips bottles of wine at his affluent house, where she would spend many nights.
Yet, despite the growing tension, Antoni won’t touch her, and when she tries to touch him, he flings her across the room like a rag doll.
Either the man is gay or otherworldly.
This is the third book I’ve read from this author, and it is another psychological masterpiece. As someone who grew up around addicts, I can say the way Christa brings us into the world of addiction is strikingly accurate, from withdrawal symptoms to what addicts are willing to do for another hit. I also adored how diverse this novel is. Even though the author is not Black, she accurately captures the characteristics of the Puerto Rican youngster Jojo and the elder Black man Oz. Their identities didn’t come across as contrived or overly dramatic.
Speaking of characters, there is also the wealthy Panamanian from El Chorrillo. I enjoyed snobbish Sonia’s edge. Sure, she’s a harlot, but her story and character have depth. In my mind’s eye, she appears to be a real person with a past that has shaped who she is today. This story really starts to take off when she enters the picture. This wealthy wife purchases Antoni’s sculpture of Ona for ten million dollars. Determined to have The Hands of God put his hands on her body, Mrs. Sonia Orlyk is more than willing to pose naked in front of the extraordinary man in full glory.
Mr. Orlyk is a wealthy drunk his wife is no longer interested in.
But Sonia’s lust and seduction with Antoni Azarov go too far. Despite the fact that he is a brilliant artist, the tragedy that has characterized his life is beyond his control. Now Ona is about to be swept up in her boss’s drama while fighting her own demons. The dealer outside the clinic and Jojo, who is out of jail but back on drugs and wants to see her, are just two examples of the dangers of relapse lurking around every corner. She is already skipping meetings.
This book is not as dark as I thought it would be based on the description and cover, but the message is deep and layered. It is about the worst kind of darkness, the internal kind we cannot always see in others and even ourselves. It is what happens when our childhood traumas, unhealed and unchecked, follow us into adulthood. It is the study of the human mind and its addiction to drugs, lust, love, fame, and even art.
“Lovesickness. It was worse than dopesickness. Antoni was more dangerous than heroin.” – Ona Price
Oblivion Black is a lengthy read, but you won’t be able to put it down or forget about the characters.
Plot Movement / Strength: 4/5
Entertainment Factor: 4/5
Authenticity / Believable: 4/5
Thought Provoking: 5/5
Overall Rating: 4/ 5 stars
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Stay tuned for our next dope read, part two in the Sculptor series.
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