In a Temple of Trees

In a Temple of Trees

4.5 4
by Suzanne Hudson
     
 

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Cecil Durgin, a twelve-year-old African-American orphan, witnesses the perverse buildup to a brutal murder at an exclusive hunting camp in 1958. Decades later, the shame and guilt are still haunting him when fissures start forming in the lives of several characters unwittingly connected by a young woman’s body buried deep in the West Alabama woods. Thirty years

Overview

Cecil Durgin, a twelve-year-old African-American orphan, witnesses the perverse buildup to a brutal murder at an exclusive hunting camp in 1958. Decades later, the shame and guilt are still haunting him when fissures start forming in the lives of several characters unwittingly connected by a young woman’s body buried deep in the West Alabama woods. Thirty years of pressure and bitterness ignite an unstoppable chain reaction leading back to the night of the murder — and the truth. 'In a Temple of Trees' is the story of secrets and their devastating aftermath on the powerful and the meek, husbands and wives, the living and the dead.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Though Hudson's first novel (after the short story collection Opposable Thumbs) takes place in the 1990s, it often feels as though it could just as easily be set 100 years earlier. African-American man-about-town Cecil Durgin runs the radio station in Three Breezes, Ala., and is a kind of unofficial voice for the (mainly black) residents, serving as DJ for an evangelical Christian program and the requisite country station ("his religious talks were earnest and homespun, his blues promos earthy and charged with sexual innuendo"). Durgin's small Southern town is still run by a tight-knit group of white men, whose hunting cottage Cecil worked at as a boy. His seeming immunity to their intensely racist politics stems from an incident 30 years ago at the lodge, in which a woman was raped and killed with Cecil as the sole witness. Thirty years later, he has told only one person what he saw, but he realizes that this old secret is slowly being leaked, affecting not only his life and that of his family, but the lives of his oldest friends, their parents and possibly the future of the town. Cecil is a complex character, abandoned by his mother as a child and raised by a white couple, feeling out of place no matter where he is and convinced that he has an "alien heart." This brutal, eloquent novel takes the old theme of Southern racial conflict and rewrites it in the present, playing out a drama of the damage caused by festering secrets. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781596929852
Publisher:
MacAdam/Cage Publishing, Incorporated
Publication date:
05/22/2010
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
1,158,674
File size:
311 KB

Meet the Author

About the Author: As a graduate student, Suzanne Hudson won a Hackney Literary Award and a National Endowment for Arts and Humanities prize, and then withdrew from the publishing world for twenty-five years until the publication of a short story collection, 'Opposable Thumbs', in 2001. She is a contributor to 'Stories from the Blue Moon Café'. A Georgia native, Suzanne currently lives in Baldwin County, Alabama. 'In a Temple of Trees' is her first novel.

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In a Temple of Trees 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This work is supermarket Faulkner: about as tedious as Absalom, Absalom, though containing much shorter sentences, and far less gripping than Intruder In The Dust. What used to be called miscegenation, Klansmen and their prejudices and foul language, brutality toward women, infidelity, and racial stereotypes are all in the brew, which is seasoned with a lushness of metaphor taken mainly from the kitchen -- e.g., from the first page of text, 'The atmosphere back at the big house had been battered and coated with a thick crust of anticipation....' Such turgidity suggests that the author's bruited twenty-five year absence from literary endeavors was mainly devoted to culinary efforts.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am always intrigued by races writing about each other. At first, apprehensive, then, intrigued, thirdly, enthralled. This white girl can write. Race was not an obstacle for her to hurdle.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The author's superior skill to develop characters that jump off the page and ability to expose bigotry and intolerant mind-set of 'the good old boys'gang in a small southern town. Is considerably more than just another novel about the raciest south.This riveting tale and brazen style yields a standout in the crowded field of southern literature.