Cover image for Any way the wind blows : a novel
Any way the wind blows : a novel
Harris, E. Lynn.
Personal Author:
[Large print edition].
Publication Information:
Waterville, Me. : Thorndike Press, 2003.

Physical Description:
448 pages ; 23 cm
General Note:
Subtitle from cover.
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X Adult Large Print - Floating collection Floating Collection - Large Print

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A New York Times BestsellerLeft at the altar a year before, Broadway bombshell Yancey Harrington Braxton stages her comeback as a recording star. But has she forgiven ex-fiancé John Basil Henderson, or does she still need to even the score? As Yancey's star rises, she fears someone may be after her.

Author Notes

Born in Flint, Michigan and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, E. Lynn Harris graduated from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in 1977, earning a degree in journalism with honors. After college, Harris sold computers for IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and AT&T for 13 years before quitting his job to write his first novel. The resulting book, Invisible Life, was self-published in 1992 and sold mostly at beauty salons and black-owned bookstores. After being published in trade paperback by Anchor Books, Invisible Life became the #1 book on the Blackboard Bestseller List of African-American Titles and spent a total of 25 consecutive months on the list.

Harris was an openly gay African American and was best known for his depictions of African American men on the down low or in the closet. He won numerous awards for his work including two Novel of the Year Prizes by the Blackboard African-American Bestsellers, Inc. for Just As I Am and Any Way the Wind Blows, the James Baldwin Award for Literary Excellence for If This World Were Mine, and the Lambda Literary Award for the anthology Freedom in This Village. His other books include And This Too Shall Pass; Abide with Me; Not a Day Goes By; A Love of My Own; I Say a Little Prayer; What Becomes of the Brokenhearted; Just Too Good to Be True, and Basketball Jones. His work also appeared in American Visions, Essence, Washington Post Sunday Magazine, Sports Illustrated and the award-winning anthology Brotherman: The Odyssey of Black Men in America. He died on July 23, 2009 at the age of 54.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The "down low," or some black men's reluctance to admit homosexuality, is the subject of Harris' latest novel, as he takes up the life and times of John Basil Henderson from Not a Day Goes By [BKL Je 1 & 15 00]. Basil is a handsome former athlete, a successful agent for athletes, and a man with a secret he doesn't like to admit even to himself. Seven years ago, he left Broadway star Yancey Braxton, at the altar, confessing to her that he wasn't sure of his sexual orientation. The profitable firm Basil has built with his partners is courting up-and-coming macho athletes, even as the firm is courted in possible buyout deals by larger companies. And Basil maintains a stream of beautiful women--and occasional men on the side--even as he considers starting a family. Then Yancey is back on the scene, this time as Yancey B, a rising recording star with a hit record that takes aim at bisexual male lovers. Yancey's fans and the press want to know if she's singing about a real-life experience. But Yancey has her own secrets to protect as she and Basil engage in a vengeful struggle, each protecting a lucrative career. Bartholomew "Bart" Dunbar, a scheming, homosexual model, is caught in the middle of the ongoing war between Basil and Yancey when a series of coincidences weaves him into their wicked and tortured lives. But there are few innocents in a novel filled with fiendishly devious characters. --Vanessa Bush

Publisher's Weekly Review

John Basil Henderson, retired NFL tight end and self-styled "playa," is one of Harris's favorite characters, having brought his dastardly charm to several of the author's novels. In last year's Not a Day Goes By, Basil finally found a lover as voracious as he, and as lacking in scruples: Broadway diva supreme Yancey Harrington Braxton. Their turbulent affair ended, spectacularly, when Basil left Yancey at the altar. This conflicted, not entirely lovable pair returns in Harris's latest urban romance. After Basil's very public jilting, Yancey set out for Los Angeles to pursue her dream of pop stardom. She returns to New York as Motown chanteuse Yancey B, ready to shoot the video for her first single. Still in Manhattan, Basil has turned football fame into a successful career as a sports agent. Far more principled in business than in love, Basil has little respect for the women he beds and even less for the men he sees "on the down low." As Yancey's provocative, autobiographical ballad climbs the charts, she and Basil are reluctantly reunited in a tangle of sex, suspense and scandalous secrets. The obsessive scheming of waiter/model/actor Bart Dunbar adds another layer of intrigue to this already outsized tale. By building his novel around three protagonists who are mostly lacking in moral sense, Harris takes the chance that readers will not be able to sympathize with them or appreciate their outrageous exploits. But the author gives each of his characters an externalized conscience in the form of a generous, loving, honorable best friend. By adding this human dimension to his main characters, Harris makes it a little easier for readers to enjoy his sassy contemporary melodrama. (On-sale: July 10) Forecast: Not a Day Goes By was a vigorous bestseller, and this more-of-the-same sequel should match its performance. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Harris brings back a mix of characters from his previous best sellers, focusing on John Basil Henderson, who's glad to break the hearts of both women and men. When Basil finds his life swinging out of control, he wonders whether former fianc‚e Yancey and her bombshell mom, Ava, are after him again. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Yancey's Big Reign When I walk into a room, other women either leave or gather into small groups. That's the kind of woman I am. So imagine my surprise when that stopped happening when I moved to the West Coast. I was used to the seas parting for me. But I guess LaLa Land hadn't been warned about me. About a month ago, my record company gave a listening party at one of Hollywood's newest eateries, Reign, for my soon-to-be-released CD, I'm Not in Love . The party was swimming with members of Hollywood's black elite and their flunkies and was a West Coast version of a Ghetto Fabulous plush bash. It was a great event, but if I had to rank them, it was the second-best party where I was the guest of honor. The best party I ever attended was the day before I was supposed to get married. We had a spectacular party at Laura Belle, in New York City, and as delicious as that party was, my wedding day was an equal disaster. My groom-to-be dropped a full-tilt nuclear assault bomb on me: He decided the morning of our wedding that he would rather spend the rest of his life flip-flopping between the beds of both men and women instead of sleeping with just me. But when I really think about it, Basil and I had more problems than a college entrance exam. He had a difficult childhood. I had a miserable one. He lied about his past. I embellished mine. He wanted children, while the only thing I desired with the letter C was a Career. And not just any career, mind you, a C-A-R-E-E-R that would rival that of any diva, living or dead. My name is Yancey Harrington Braxton, now known to the recording world as "Yancey B," pop singer fabulosa. (Move over, Whitney. Step aside, Mariah. J-Lo, get outta my way.) I relocated to Los Angeles a day after being left at the altar, and it has turned out to be the best move I've ever madeóthat is, if you don't count not speaking to my former fiancé and my mother. I arrived in LaLa Land with no agent or manager, no permanent residence and very little money. Thank God the real estate market in New York was so hot; I was able to get a much-needed equity loan against my East Side town house. The L.A. weather was so inviting when I arrived that it was hard to close myself off from the world, as I had intended. I went to Malibu, did lots of window shopping and started reading the trades looking for work. The only contact I had with New York was a call every other day from my good friend Windsor, who was staying in my house until the right offer to sell came along. One night I found myself having dinner alone at the hotel's Polo Lounge restaurant. After finishing a chicken caesar salad, I went into the bar, had a drink and soon found myself singing and confiding in the piano player. Turns out Bobby Daye was not only a talented piano player, but a wonderful songwriter as well. After he finished his set, he took me to several other clubs while I told him my life story. When he dropped me off, he looked at me and said, "I'm going to write some songs for that voice." I thought it was the liquor talking, so I was shocked when he showed up a week later at my suite with five songs written just for me. Three weeks later, we were in a West Hollywood studio recording a demo. One month later, not only did I have a record deal with Motown Records, but an agent and manager as well. Who said dreams can't come true in Hollywood anymore? Right now I'm living right in the middle of Beverly Hills, in a lovely two-bedroom guesthouse behind the mansion of my manager, Malik Jackson. Malik (a.k.a. Roosevelt) stopped counting birthdays some fifteen years ago but looks to be in his early fifties. I get to live rent-free; I just have to perform a few duties for Malik every once in a while. Trust me when I say I'm not talking about cooking and cleaning. I've been so busy recording my CD that I've had very little time to concentrate on my movie career, but that will come soon enough. I do know that Hollywood is a lot like New York. A few divas (Angela, Nia, Lela, Ms. Jada and Vanessa L.) get all the work while the rest just pray the unemployment checks come on time. I'm an actress and a damn good one. And if my word isn't enough, just ask anyone who was at my wedding. Even though Basil had drop-kicked me unmercilessly that morning, I'm a diva and the show must go on. So after all the guests arrived, I stood at the head of the table, poised like I was one of the last two beauties standing in the Miss America pageant, confident that my name would be called after they announced the first runner-up. I told the assembled guests and press that I had had a change of heart and had decided not to marry John Basil Henderson. Damn . . . if Julia Roberts could leave Kiefer Sutherland on their wedding day, then why couldn't I leave Basil? At least I showed up. I shared with a few of my guests the exciting news that I had been offered the lead role in a movie being filmed in Toronto based on the life of Lena Horne. I reported that I had beat out Vanessa L. Williams, Halle Berry and Sanaa Lathan. I asked them to keep my news on the QT since the producers hadn't told the other ladies I got the part. In front of the press, I acknowledged, softly, that Basil was heartbroken and had left the hotel in tears. I even bit my lips as my own tears appeared on cue. I encouraged them to keep Basil in their thoughts and wish me much success. And then I greeted my guests, each one of them, accepting their hugs and kisses for over an hour. So after a year I think I'm ready to return to the scene of my greatest acting triumph ever. In conjunction with my debut CD, the record company has decided to film my first video in New York City as well and has set up media interviews with BET, VH-1 and MTV. We're releasing a house version of the first single a couple weeks before the single is dropped. The A&R manager thought it might make sense to do a couple of performances at some gay clubs in New York and Washington, D.C. He told me if the "kids," as he called them, loved the song, then it would be Billboard number one here I come. I am a little nervous about returning to New York. But I knew I couldn't stay away forever. I can't wait to visit with Windsor, eat some of her cooking, and stroll through Shubert Alley. I plan to stop at the stage door of the theater where I first heard the sounds of thunderous standing ovations. There are a few places I want to shop and some scores I need to settle. Damn . . . now I'm sounding like my mother, the been-done, broke-down diva Ava Parker Middlebrooks. There was a time when I would have said that with great pride. But every time I breathe the air and look at the sun, I shed layers of Ava. I know that one day very soon, I will finally be the marvelous, amazing, and incomparable Yancey I was placed on earth to be. And trust me, everyone will know my nameócoast to coast. The real reign of Yancey B is just beginning. To update a line from one of my favorite movies, All About Eve , Strap on your seat belts. And don't say you weren't warned. . . . Excerpted from Any Way the Wind Blows by E. Lynn Harris All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.