Can't Quit You, Baby

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Those encountering Douglas (a pseudonym for Josephine Haxton, an acclaimed Mississippi writer) for the first time in this remarkable novel will want to read everything she has written. Set in Mississippi during the 1960s and '70s, the narrative at first seems simply the story of two womenCornelia and her black maid Julia (called Tweet by everyone but Cornelia). Initially, Tweet's is the more dramatic tale, featuring a kindly grandfather, a blackguard father, money hidden in a tree, adultery, blatant racismall related with wonderful detail and suspense. A more reserved, Southern ``lady'' who has insulated herself from the unpleasant aspects of life, Cornelia, in her 40s, has become deaf, which isolates her from her husband, two children and the real world. She begins a painful coming to terms, when her vision of life as a fairy tale (stemming from her Rapunzel-like rescue from a tower by the man she eventually married over her mother's objections) is shattered suddenly and tragically.. In a beautifully woven narrative whose complexity is only gradually revealed, the author shows how ``layers of circumstance and imagining,'' reality and illusion, inextricably entwine one individual with another. Powerful, poignant and wise, this novel surely confirms Douglas as one of our most important writers. (July)
Library Journal
Veteran Southern author Douglas's eighth work of fiction is the compelling story of two women: white and affluent Cornelia and her irascible black maid Tweet. They recall the traumatic events that have shaped their lives: Cornelia eloped from her mother's iron fist, saw her husband's painful death, and bore a widow's grief; Tweet protected herself from her hateful father's arson, forgave her unfaithful mate, and came into Cornelia's employ. Becoming close friends, they face even worse ordeals together. Douglas's sure diction, natural idiom, emotional complexity, and feminine sensitivity render this an exceptional novel. Despite the tangible themes of rage, guilt, and sorrow, the narrative is refreshing for its redemptive powers. Edward C. Lynskey, Documentation, Altantic Research Corp., Alexandria, Va.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140121025
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/28/1989
  • Series: Contemporary American Fiction Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 1,027,442
  • Product dimensions: 5.19 (w) x 7.82 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Meet the Author

Ellen Douglas, whose real name is Josephine Haxton, was born in Natchez, Mississippi, and published her first novel, A Family's Affairs, in 1962. This first endeavor, as well as her short-story collection Black Cloud, White Cloud were both included in The New York Times Book Review's year's ten best listings. Her fourth novel, Apostles of Light, was a finalist for the National Book Award in 1973. Now seventy-eight years old, she makes her home in Jackson, Mississippi.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2002

    Great Story

    Relationships between a woman and her husband, daughter, self is wonderfully written. Recommended!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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