Change Baby

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Overview

An award-winning writer's debut novel about a young woman's return to her Southern roots and to the secrets of who she is.

Avie Goss is a change baby-a baby born late in her mother's life, almost a generation after the births of her two siblings. When her mother nearly dies in a house fire, Avie returns home to the South she abandoned after college. There, she tends to her ailing mother and begins to unravel the story of who she is-and to uncover a different picture of a way of ...

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Overview

An award-winning writer's debut novel about a young woman's return to her Southern roots and to the secrets of who she is.

Avie Goss is a change baby-a baby born late in her mother's life, almost a generation after the births of her two siblings. When her mother nearly dies in a house fire, Avie returns home to the South she abandoned after college. There, she tends to her ailing mother and begins to unravel the story of who she is-and to uncover a different picture of a way of life that has all but vanished. Slowly, as she makes sense of her family's legacy, she begins to build a new life for herself in a landscape with which she must come to terms.

June Spence's astonishing talents as a literary stylist, which were so highly praised on the publication of her story collection, Missing Women and Others, are stunningly exhibited in this impressive debut novel. As Larry Brown wrote about her stories, "In her beautiful sentences June Spence writes with knowledge and intelligence, with wit and insight, and a generous helping of compassion."

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this impressive first novel, a young woman discovers skeletons long hidden in the family closet. Avie Goss was born 24 years ago, just before her mother's menopause and long after her two "more suitably timed siblings." She trusted that once she left her hometown of Regina, N.C., "the future would cough up its gems," but she's now a recovering alcoholic in a dysfunctional relationship with a married man. When her 73-year-old mother, Mabry, is injured in a house fire, Avie returns home to care for her. She seeks out Mabry's cousin and oldest friend, Zephra, curious about the rift between them, and is told that the two women aren't really kin. From this first revelation, more secrets unfold, including the true nature of the bonds between Zephra, Mabry and her dead husband, and even between Avie and her siblings. Spence's prose is deft, forceful and quirky ("my thoughts darted in every direction, small, excitable fishes"), but never overbearing, and her alternating narrators (Avie, Zephra and Mabry) have delightful voices. And when sparks fly between the agnostic Avie and a young pastor, Spence handily provides comic relief and the pleasures of young love. Despite an ending in which loose ends are tied up a little too tidily, Spence, who garnered much praise for her 1999 collection, Missing Women and Others, delivers a true winner. Agent, Nicole Aragi. (Sept. 13) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
All her life, Avie Goss has thought that she is a "change baby," a child born to parents late in life. But when she is summoned home by her older sister to care for her ailing mother, she begins to unravel the intertwining relationships and hidden parts of her family tree. It takes the death of her mother's once-close friend, who was brought to the family as a young woman to help care for the newly born Goss children, for Avie to learn that there is much more to her history than she has ever been told. Spence (Missing Women and Others), an award-winning short story writer, reaches into her own family's past for the basis of this saga about enlightenment. Her descriptions of the rural South and the shifting first-person perspectives of the main female characters result in a crisp, vivid narrative. A good choice for book clubs; highly recommended. Leann Restaino, Jameson Health Syst., New Castle, PA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594481338
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 9/6/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.14 (w) x 7.98 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author

June Spence's stories have appeared in The Best American Short Stories 1997, The Southern Review, Seventeen, and The Oxford American. She is the winner of the Mary Ruffin Poole Award for First Work of Fiction, the winner of the 1995 Willa Cather Award, and was selected as a writer to watch in the year 2000 by the Raleigh News & Observer. Her collection, Missing Women and Others, was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2007

    Predictable

    A typical crazy southern family read. All the predictable elements - dysfunction, lack of respect and appreciation among the family - people not being honest about the choices they have made and letting others pay for their cowardice.

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