Heaven of Mercuryby Brad Watson
Finus Bates has loved chatty, elegant Birdie Wells ever since he saw her cartwheel naked through the woods near the backwater town of Mercury, Mississippi, in 1917. Having "caught hold of some loose line in her that would attach itself to stray wildness," and never let go, he's loved her for some eighty years: through their marriages to other people, through the mysterious early death of Birdie's womanizing husband, Earl, and through all the poisonous accusations against Birdie by Earl's no-good relatives.
A gorgeous portrayal of lifelong friendship, restless passion, marital discord and accommodation, aging and remembrance, death and afterlife, The Heaven of Mercury is inscribed in prose so eerily fine it is one of life's true pleasures.
- Large Print Book Company, The
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- Large Print
- Product dimensions:
- 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)
Meet the Author
- Date of Birth:
- July 24, 1955
- Place of Birth:
- Meridian, Mississippi
- Meridian Junior College; B.A., Mississippi State University, 1978; M.F.A., University of Alabama, 1985
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I wanted so much to escape with this book. At times I was very much wrapped up in the story and language. However, at other times I felt the subplots and descriptions were disjointed and pointless. The whole necrophilia thing was odd and added nothing to the novel.
This book was so overwritten it's pitiful! I love Southern writers, but this was way off the deep edge.
The book is very well written, but appears to me to have been written in two or three separate sessions. It is almost as if the author began the book, finished, and said, ¿I need some more content in the book¿. The book jumps from character to character, time period to time period, without any real clear direction. He describes the area (Mississippi) well, but does a poor job of having you love or hate it. He also does the same with the characters; do I hate this person or like them?
Watson's terrific short story collection Last Days of the Dog-Men hinted at the incredible narrative powers he displays in his first novel. This powerhouse book has the courage to take us through an entire century (the 20th) with a small town (Mercury, Mississippi) and to chronicle the lives of its most intriguing citizens, living and dead. Yes, the dead play prominent roles in this joyous book. They find themselves resurrected in the act of love-making, speak to the living and serve as tour-guides, and take us on trips back and forth in time. It is the closest thing I know to an American Siddhartha (Hesse), an unimpeachable vision of the eternal continuity of life. Like all great novels, this may try your patience at times. Buy it, test the waters with one toe, two, wade in, start swimming, try not to tire, be patient, Brad Watson will carry you on his back to the far shore.
What do you say about a book whose crowning literary moment is the description of an 89-year-old man taking a dump in the bathroom? Then there¿s this lovely image of a horse: ¿A long, slow f--- flabbered from the proud black lips of Dan¿s hole, and the smoke from it too trailed off in the air.¿ Curiously, intellectuals praise The Heaven of Mercury for how it ¿illumines every accurate detail¿ and delivers ¿just-right words.¿ The Heaven of Mercury is part love story, part murder mystery, and part taste of the South. These parts combine into a dull and dreary text. The love story offers no payoff to the reader. The murder mystery fails outright. It is so loosely developed, there are no clues for the reader to pick up. In the end the omniscient narrator just tells some back story to explain the mystery. As for the taste of the South, it is bland at best. The Heaven of Mercury does make a solid showing as a feminist text. In this book the men are weak, the women are strong. Finally, The Heaven of Mercury is yet another example of how the academic mind disdains plot. Here the story is not told in a linear fashion. A character who dies in one chapter may be alive in the next. This book of 333 pages piddles along to a dubious crescendo (the bathroom scene) near page 200, then for the next 133 pages the author fills in gaps left by the first 200 pages.