In this deceptively slim book, she considers the layers of spirituality and history tangled in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina through the eyes of one young man whose life reverberates with the beauty and horror of the city he calls home ... dense symbolism would be heavy-handed if not for James’ wry and intimate narration, which remains close to the bone and heart of its characters. James captures the simple kindnesses of a cup of coffee or a shared cellphone as though they were religious acts. Where a more ponderous writer might lapse into a lengthy stream of consciousness, James uses short chapters to weave a story of fractured time and uncharted space into the fabric of life after Katrina ... This is a book of faith aching to be claimed, of a land that dares to be redeemed, of souls searching to be free, of all spirits looking for a home. It’s a metaphysical book deeply rooted in ancient legacies of subjugation ... a deeply haunted novel that moves with calm and ruthless determination, like the eye of a hurricane.
While the narrative’s trajectory follows a line from fallen to restored and redeemed, its chapters meander, folding back and forth in time—and in between Ham’s, Mayfly’s, and Deborah’s perspectives. Its tension is succulent thanks, in part, to the rootlessness of its characters, who are always in motion. Forays into the fantastical come via magic potions, dangerous foods, and blended cultures, while Hurricane Katrina stands in for cataclysmic events in general ... Lasting relationships form the foundation of the fluid, musical novel None but the Righteous.
... a languid character study that meanders through key memories and thoughts of the protagonist and the influential individuals surrounding him. The amorphous nature of James’s tale may be challenging for readers who prefer a straightforward plot line.