Tananarive Due's Novels:

Short Story Collections

Ghost Summer

Devil's Wake series

Devil's Wake

Domino Falls

African Immortals series

My Soul To Keep

The Living Blood

Blood Colony

My Soul To Take

Tennyson Hardwick


In the Night of the Heat

From Cape Town With Love

South By Southeast


Joplin's Ghost

The Good House: A novel

Freedom in the Family

The Black Rose

The Between

The Ancestors

The Between
Harper Collins; ISBN: 0060927267

Purchase The Between

Part horror novel, part detective story and part speculative fiction, The Between is a mix of genres. Yet it is no hybrid. It is a finely-honed work that engages and frequently surprises.
– The New York Times

Tananarive Due's compelling imagery pulls the reader into the abyss [with her main character], as the line's between reality and vision blur into inconsequence. Due masterfully maintains the suspense as [his] world tips into chaos, all the while delineating her characters with a psychological realism that makes the unbelievable credible.
– The Washington Post Book World

A beautifully written, suspenseful story... Due's multicultural treatment of mortality and planes of Existence is as fresh and thought-provoking as it is frightening and satisfying. Definitely recommended.
– Fangoria

[The Between] is an extraordinary work of humane imagination...Call it magic realism with soul. The closest compatriot of The Between is Toni Morrison's Beloved. Not shabby.

Ms. Due has written a haunting first novel that layers the world that is with worlds that might be. Elements of suspense, Ghanaian folk legend, ghost tales, and a family love story are braided into a suspenseful rope that pulls one readily along...the author holds one's attention with a sure style and fast-moving plot. I read its 271 pages straight through in one sitting...The Between frightens us because we believe, from the very beginning, that this can happen. It is a notable debut by an author who is worth hearing from again.

...a mix of the kind of ghost stories my Southern Grandfather used to tell, New Age spirituality and just enough Stephen-King-like suspense to make it an irresistible page-turner.
– Emerge

Refreshingly, this book works on many levels: as a chilling excursion into the paranormal, as a reflection on the challenges facing upper middle class black families, and as a philosophical examination of the very nature of reality...The Between is a powerful debut. 
– Southern Book Trade

Although set largely in the black and Hispanic communities of Florida's Dade County, Due's first novel, a skillful blend of horror and the supernatural, poses questions about life and identity that transcend racial boundaries.  
– Publishers Weekly


NO ONE HAD warned Hilton about the undertow, and he wouldn't have understood if they had, but Nana did tell him he could only go in the water if he didn't go too far; this would have been enough if Hilton had minded like he should have. Nana, who was helping the ladies set up picnic tables, pointed to the orange buoy floating out in the water and said he could only go halfway there. And Hilton said, "Yes, Nana," and ran splashing into the water knowing that he would go exactly where he wanted because in the water he would be free.

He swam easily past the midway point to the buoy, and he could see from here that it was cracked and the glowing paint was old. He wanted to get a closer look at it, maybe grab it and tread water and gaze back at all those brown bodies on the sand. And it was here that he met up with the undertow

It was friendly at first. He felt as though the water had closed a grip around his tiny kicking legs and dunked him beneath the surface like a doughnut, then spat him back up a few feet from where he started. Hilton coughed and smiled, splashing with his arms, He didn't know the water could do that by itself. It was like taking a ride.

The buoy was now farther than it was before the ocean played with him. It was off to his left now when it had been straight ahead. As Hilton wanted to see if he could feel those swirling currents beneath him again, he heard splinters of Nana's voice in the wind calling from the beach: "Hilton, you get back here, boy! You hear me? Get back here."

So the ocean was not free after all, Hilton realized. He had better do as he was told, or he wouldn't get any coconut cake or peach cobbler, if it wasn't too late for that already. He began sure strokes back toward the shore.

The current still wanted to play, and this time it was angry Hilton was trying to leave so soon. He felt the cold grip seize his waist and hold his legs still. He was so startled he gasped a big breath of air; just in time to be plunged into the big belly of the ocean, tumbled upside down and then up again, with water pounding all around his ears in a roar...

He didn't hear Nana shout out from where she stood at the shore, but he'd hear the story told many times later. There was no lifeguard that day, but there was plenty of Kelly and James men who followed Nana, who stripped herself of her dress and ran into the water. The men followed the old woman into the sea.

Hilton felt he couldn't hold his breath anymore, and the water mocked him all around. It filled his ears, his nose, and finally his mouth, and his muscles began to fail him. It was then, just he believed his entire fifty-pound body would fill with water, that he felt an arm around his waist. He fought the arm at first, thinking it was another current, but the grip was firm and pulled him up, up, up, until he could see light and Nana's weary, determined face. That was all he saw, because he went limp then.

He would hear the rest from the others who told him in gentle ways about Chariots to the Everlasting and that sort of thing. One of the James men had been swimming closely behind Nana, and she passed Hilton to his arms. Then she simply stopped swimming, they said. Said maybe, she just gave out. Nana's head began to sink below the water, and just as one of the Kelly men reached to try to take her arm, the current she'd pulled Hilton from took her instead. The man carrying Hilton could only swim against it with all his might toward the shore. Many people almost drowned that day.

When Hilton's senses came back to him and he was lying on the beach, caked in gritty sand, all that was left of Nana was her good flowered dress, damp and crumpled at the water's edge.

So what the gifted old folks, the seers, often say is true:

Sometimes the dead go unburied.

Copyright ©1995 by Tananarive Due

Discussion Questions:

What do you believe the title of this novel refers to?


As described in the prologue, what kind of powers, if any, do you believe Nana had?  Did she pass them on to Hilton?


Which partner was more to blame for the history of marital problems between Hilton and Dede?


What are Hilton's dreams trying to tell him?  Do you believe he could remember his dreams if he wanted to?


Discuss Charles Ray Goode.  What forces do you think are using him as an agent to try to destroy Hilton and his family?  Are those forces “evil,” or are they simply trying to correct the natural order? 


Discuss Hilton's sexual tryst with Danitra.  Did it really happen?  Does infidelity “count” if it takes place in an alternate universe?


What is your understanding of the “doorways” in this novel?  Do you believe that there can be more than one plane of reality?


How is Hilton able to triumph over his fear of death?   Does this novel make the concept of death seem more frightening or less frightening?


Do you believe Hilton really died at the end of this novel?  If not, how would you explain what happened?


What do you think the future will be like for Kaya and Jamil, Hilton's children?


How might you have written a different ending?

©2011 Tananarive Due