An erotically charged novel readers will certainly need to put down often because L. A. Parchment has pulled out all stops in his amazing exploration of the dimensions of a man’s need for love, “The Night Hawker” has the ability to overheat the senses and the emotions with its sizzling, humid scenes imprinted by the aromas of a thousand different night flowers. More than that, though, it is a Pilgrim’s Progress of modern love–an allegory of worldliness and how a young man goes through many negative experiences or psychological dilemmas to get at the right things. Through it, love and its physical expression becomes the antidote to a youthful, troubled world.
John Squires, Parchment’s protagonist starts out as a nineteen year old who is crazy about girls. He goes out of his way to be able to find them and device clever plots to get them into his bed the same night. At that young age, he already has a vast experience with women and an enviable repertoire of all the right moves that gets whatever female that he fancies. His life, as Parchment opens his narrative, is about to take a turn into some serious business as he falls in love with Rhona, a black dancer. Ironically, she is the first woman he gets pregnant and the first black woman who has caught his attention. In the next narrative turn, tragedy strikes when Rhona, whom John’s family finds hard to accept, dies before their wedding.
For John Squires love turns into the darker paths of passion and obsession as he rebounds from heartbreak. It sets him up for a meeting with “The Night Hawker,” an eternal feminine spirit who is duty-bound to please all men. First, recovering from Rhona’s death, he meets Jane and Jane’s sister Mavis. Jane is the epitome of the supportive wife, and can give love as good as John does. Mavis, though, through her predilection for loving as many men as she could, is Jane’s dark twin whose charms are more powerful and dangerous than the “normal” Jane. John becomes obsessed with Mavis, and his obsessive love props up his failing marriage to Jane.
“The Night Hawker” then enters its final, dizzy tropes as Squires is forced to stand up for his obsessions. Readers will by then be prepared for Parchment’s literary surprises. The ending to this book is an apotheosis of love, but nothing that readers expect–Parchment makes sure it is both a thrilling and satisfying denouement to the great, grand passion that has propelled his book into territory that he has blazed for himself in his search for new expressions for human love.