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Charley Bland
     

Charley Bland

by Mary Lee Settle
 

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In this moving and brilliant narrative of doomed love, Mary Lee Settle tells a triangular affair set in the small town of Canona, West Virginia. The novel's narrator, a thirty-five-year-old widow and writer, returns from a self-imposed European exile to find her hometown much as she left it decades ago.

Overview

In this moving and brilliant narrative of doomed love, Mary Lee Settle tells a triangular affair set in the small town of Canona, West Virginia. The novel's narrator, a thirty-five-year-old widow and writer, returns from a self-imposed European exile to find her hometown much as she left it decades ago.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
With its zinger of an opening sentence: ``It seemed that when I was growing up, all the wild roads led to Charley Bland,'' Settle sweeps into her seductive story, a memento of a lost love and a genteelly devouring way of life. In 1960, widowed and a fledgling author, the 35-year-old narrator returns home to West Virginia, where she becomes the newest conquest of the town rake and alcoholic, irresistible Charley Bland. Both are prodigals and sinners: she in having fled the South to live the bohemian life in Paris, Charley thoroughly in thrall to his ruthless, implacably selfish mother: ``She used charm like a blunt instrument.'' The passionate summer romance cools to a secret relationship that endures for seven years. Finally, the narrator feels she has received ``permission to leave'' from those who have known from the beginning that Charley will never marry her. A familiar story, perhaps, but Settle recounts it in beautifully cadenced, lyrical prose, her elegiac tone perfectly sustained, her ironic insights stinging with her special understanding of how Southern codes of conduct, especially the ironclad traditions of family relationships, foreordain the tragic waste of lives. Settle, whose Beulah Quintet has few peers in its depiction of Southern character, makes this bittersweet love story resonant with the truths of life. (Sept.)
Library Journal
This book reminds us of the old adage about being careful what you ask for because you just might get it: a widow returns to her hometown after a long absence to start an affair with the boy of her adolescent dreams with disastrous results. LJ's reviewer found the novel "short on plot but long on atmosphere and understanding of the human heart" (LJ 6/15/89). This edition contains a new introduction by the author.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781570031496
Publisher:
University of South Carolina Press
Publication date:
10/01/1996
Series:
Mary Lee Settle Collection Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
207
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.47(d)

What People are Saying About This

Walker Percy
"Charlie Bland is a haunting novel, a mystery in the form of a memoir, a love story rendered by a rare poetess."

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