BOOK REVIEW / Recent paperbacks: Thereafter Johnnie - Carolivia Herron: Virago, pounds 5.99.

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Although the plot of this novel - which centres on the incestuous turmoil in a black family in Washington - is occasionally obscure, nothing could be clearer or lovelier than the sensual moments that crowd its pages. A girl plays the piano, and 'she melts, disintegrates within open circles looped in the white spaces held within the musical signs - each note plucked from the page and flicked into the white hot air by the quirk of her eye'.