Celebrating Black History Month at the VCU Libraries
Reviewed by Jennifer Darragh, Reference Librarian for Behavioral and Social Sciences
Albert French's I Can’t Wait on God is a richly visual, multi-layered novel set in a predominantly African American Pittsburgh neighborhood (Homewood) in the summer of 1950. The focal characters of the story are Willet Mercer, a beautiful young woman and her man Jeremiah Henderson. Willet, who has a palpable air of sadness about her, is eager to leave Homewood behind for New York City. In order to obtain money to leave, Jeremiah is propositioned to have Willet become a prostitute for Tommy Moses, a local pimp holding some pretty hefty purse strings. While the deal is being cemented, Willet suddenly stabs Tommy Moses to death. In shock, both Jeremiah and Willet hastily steal what money Moses had on him, ditch his body, and take his car to flee Pittsburgh. After the murder, French's novel splits to follow Willet and Jeremiah while they are on the run -- eventually leading to rural North Carolina and the source of Willet's sadness -- and how life continues on in Homewood. French's ability to evoke powerful imagery and develop multiple characters with considerable depth results in both an interesting and memorable story.