In the Garden of Stoneby Susan Tekulve
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Shortly before daybreak in War, West Virginia, a passing train derails and spills an avalanche of coal over sixteen-year-old Emma Palmisano’s house, trapping her sleeping family inside. The year is 1924, and the remote mines of Appalachia have filled with families like Emma’s—poor, immigrant laborers building new lives half a world away from the island of Sicily. Emma awakes in total darkness, to the voice of a railroad man, Caleb Sypher, who is digging her out from the suffocating coal. From his pocket he removes two spotless handkerchiefs and tenderly cleans Emma’s bare feet. Though she knows little else about this railroad man, Emma marries him a week later, and Caleb delivers her from the gritty coal camp to thirty-four acres of pristine Virginia mountain farmland.
Winner of the South Carolina First Novel Prize in 2012, In the Garden of Stone is a multi-generational tale about the nature of power and pride, love and loss, and how one impoverished family endures estrangement from their land and each other in order to unearth the rich seams of forgiveness. Emma gives birth to a son, Dean, but the family’s life is shattered by a hobo’s bullet at the railroad station; the boy grows up early, becoming a remote man with fierce and unpredictable loyalties. Dean’s daughter, Hannah, forsakes her heritage and wanders far from home, in the end reconnecting with the Sypher family in the wildest place of all, the human heart. Bleak, harrowing, and beautifully told, In the Garden of Stone, is a haunting saga of endurance and redemption.
- BN ID:
- Hub City Press
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- Barnes & Noble
- NOOK Book
- File size:
- 501 KB
Meet the Author
Susan Tekulve’s nonfiction, short stories and essays have appeared in journals such as Denver Quarterly, Indiana Review, The Georgia Review, Connecticut Review, and Shenandoah. She is the author of two story collections, My Mother’s War Stories, which received the 2004 Winnow Press fiction prize, and Savage Pilgrims, (Serving House Books, 2009). Susan has received scholarships from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and teaches writing at Converse College.
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A beautifully well written story. I loved reading every page. A must read!
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings My favorite narrator was Sadie, her story begins before she is on the property that is the central focus, but after she gets onto the property, I felt like the story really took off. I loved her story and where she began and the journey she took while on the land was significant. Her daughter's perspective was my other favorite, Haddie was able to tell another side of her immediate family's story and I found her to be a little more honest than her parents.