Strictly speaking, Toni Morrison doesn't write horror fiction. For one thing, horror writers don't win Nobel Prizes. But if Morrison ever did try her hand at proper horror, she could probably give Stephen King a run for his money. Few writers have such a strong sense of how memories linger in a place, or how the worst bits of the past keep bubbling up into the present. Fewer still have Morrison's gift for conveying the horror of a mind divided against itself, the way good people can end up doing wrong, or how unspeakable actions can sometimes mask the best intentions. Morrison places such divisions at the center of her slim new tour de force Love. Told elliptically through the eyes of an ensemble cast, the novel recalls the life and legacy of Bill Cosey, the proprietor of a popular vacation getaway for prosperous blacks in the days before desegregation and the civil-rights movement. A site of merriment, music, infidelity, illicit desires, and conflicting racial politics, Cosey's hotel has long lain silent as Love opens, but the melody lingers on. Two women, their relationship initially unspecified, fight for ownership of Cosey's house, which has been kept up by Romen, the 14-year-old grandson of an old Cosey friend. They all exist in an uneasy stasis until the arrival of Junior, a ragged, beguiling teenage girl whose easily stirred passions force a decades-in-the-making drama to a head. Keeping the mystery but losing the murk of her last novel, 1998's Paradise, Morrison reveals Cosey's story one detail at a time, alternating perspectives among those who knew him–people who, for all his contradictions and disappointments, invariably tend to have loved him, as well. The world he created is both a starting point and a final destination for Morrison's intimately drawn characters. Some come from the poorest corners of the black South, some depart for a try at radical politics, some can do nothing but stay put as the world spins around them, and some know Cosey's era only through stories. But while they can't choose the past from which they've emerged, Morrison offers them one clear choice: Make peace with what's come before, or remain forever haunted.