Like legions of other African Americans who are part of the current reverse migration leading them "down home," Charley finds that the distance from her Southern roots is about more than miles and a few generations. She is perceived as an outsider by whites and blacks alike, and it turns out she needs to rebuild her farm almost entirely from scratch. Not even a mule comes with Charley's acres—just a heap of busted equipment, a farm manager who must be coaxed from retirement and a crazy quilt of relations and neighbors who, ironically, prove to be her salvation.
From the aromas of Community Coffee and Evangeline Maid bread to the resurging farm, "a wall of green cane leaves drinking up the afternoon light," travels with Charley are a sensory experience, a tableau vivant that Baszile skillfully paints in a palette simultaneously subtle and bold. Queen Sugar is a bright and enticing reminder that, sometimes, you can go home again.