Opal on Dry Ground

Overview

West Texas novelist Sandra Scofield's chronicles of the extraordinary passions of ordinary people have been widely praised by critics and readers nationwide. Never has the full range of her talent and innate wisdom shone with such utterly unpretentious brilliance as in Opal on Dry Ground. Opal is a fifty-something health care worker who has put on a few pounds over the years but still has enough of the old magic to attract a new husband, Russell. As devoted and rock solid as a man can be, Russell even owns a ...
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Overview

West Texas novelist Sandra Scofield's chronicles of the extraordinary passions of ordinary people have been widely praised by critics and readers nationwide. Never has the full range of her talent and innate wisdom shone with such utterly unpretentious brilliance as in Opal on Dry Ground. Opal is a fifty-something health care worker who has put on a few pounds over the years but still has enough of the old magic to attract a new husband, Russell. As devoted and rock solid as a man can be, Russell even owns a four-bedroom house - into which, without much warning, move Opal's two daughters, Clancy and Joy, who are fleeing wrecked marriages, along with her adolescent granddaughter, Heather, a veritable textbook case of obnoxious adolescent rebellion. All their lives, Opal has bailed her daughters out, trying to make up for the failures of men - fathers, boyfriends, and mates. Now she's trying to cope with the devastating loss of her own mother, killed in a flood. In a house shaken by a myriad of personal crises and with her own soul torn in all directions, Opal must help her womenfolk and herself prepare to leave the nest, as the waters of despair recede and safety beckons from the dry land of self-worth. In Opal on Dry Ground, Sandra Scofield shuttles us back and forth from laughter to tears. This tale, set in Texas, is without doubt the finest works of a delightfully original talent.

A moving novel about the passions of ordinary people by the author of Beyond Deserving. Opal had done the best she knew how in raising her daughters, Clancy and Joy. Now she has to learn to let go and live. "A fine picture of the mother-daughter bond . . . heartfelt and believable."--People. A New York Times Notable Book.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Once again probing the problems of women in fractured families, Scofield offers in her fifth novel (after More Than Allies ) a compromised version of the depth and compassion she showed in her earlier books. The center of this three-generation saga is Opal Duffy, a twice-married, 50-something woman struggling to juggle the demands of her new husband, her past and her two divorced, erratic daughters, with whom she shares a house and a trailer. One daughter, Clancy, gets pregnant by her lover but remains ambivalent about the prospect of yet another husband. Meanwhile, her sister, Joy, fights constantly with her ex-husband, her new boyfriend and her own daughter, a bored, rebellious teenager. Alternating character analysis with scenes from domestic and professional life, Scofield constructs her usual rich tapestry of family interaction, showing how both heartbreak and bad patterns are endlessly repeated. But the story itself is a bit static, and the long family roster occasionally warrants a scorecard, detracting from both character development and emotional impact. Moreover, the lack of well-developed male characters creates an imbalance that becomes increasingly evident as the plot grinds on. While Scofield presents several memorable characters here, this is territory she's explored more effectively in the past, most notably in 1991 in the American Book Award-winning Beyond Deserving . (June)
Library Journal
This powerful novel reveals Scofield's true talent for portraying the passions of ordinary people in their day-to-day lives. Opal, a 57-year-old divorcee, embodies women today who take care of their daughters, their daughters' children, and at times a new husband. Scofield skillfully illuminates the bond that is always intact between a mother and her children, no matter what the children's age. As her daughters flee horrible marriages, Opal deals with her new marriage to Russell, the loss of her own mother, and a household that has seen several crises. Scofield, who finds humor and sadness in the predicament of a woman trying to keep afloat on ``dry ground,'' here continues the tradition of excellence begun with Beyond Deserving (Permanent Pr., 1991), an American Book Award nominee. For most collections.-- Vicki Cecil, Johnson Cty. Lib., Greenwood, Ind.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804113601
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/1/1995
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint

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