×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Saving Grace
     

Saving Grace

4.0 5
by Lee Smith
 

See All Formats & Editions

"LUCID IN EXECUTION, BREATHTAKING IN SCOPE AND HEART-RENDING IN EFFECT—A REDEMPTIVE WORK OF ART. . . . Lee Smith has done more than write another novel about the South. She has broken through the grotesque surface to the underground spring, the music of Scrabble Creek, and the effect is stunning—a beguiling, gentle prose formed by an honesty so severe we

Overview

"LUCID IN EXECUTION, BREATHTAKING IN SCOPE AND HEART-RENDING IN EFFECT—A REDEMPTIVE WORK OF ART. . . . Lee Smith has done more than write another novel about the South. She has broken through the grotesque surface to the underground spring, the music of Scrabble Creek, and the effect is stunning—a beguiling, gentle prose formed by an honesty so severe we are brought to our knees. . . . This novel has a grand and singular purpose, to clothe the spirit with flesh. In this, Lee Smith succeeds."
—The Washington Post Book World
"A compelling journey into all matters southern and spiritual . . . . Set in North Carolina and Tennessee, we follow young Grace Shepherd from a cabin in the bucolic poverty of Scrabble Creek to independence as a single woman. Stops along the way include seduction by a half-brother, a failed marriage, motherhood, the loss of her son, residence in the aptly-named Creekside apartments in Knoxville and a job waitressing. . . . While Grace's path may be a journey many of us would not choose to undertake, we have to raise a small fist of jubilance to Grace for having survived."
—The Boston Sunday Globe
"Ms. Smith possesses a fine talent for creating narrative voices, whether the ungrammatical eloquence of a hill-country healer or the educated affectations of a Richmond gentleman."
—The New York Times Book Review
"Lee Smith patiently woos us into double vision. . . . As her fans know, [she] has one of the truest ears for the speech in her part of the world."
—Los Angeles Times Book Review

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Florida Grace Shepherd is another of Smith's spirited Southern women of humble background (Fair and Tender Ladies, etc.) who are destined to endure difficult and often tragic times. Instantly appealing by virtue of her distinctive narrative voice, which is iconoclastic and free from self-pity, Grace is the daughter of Virgil Shepherd, a self-styled minister who spreads the gospel in revival meetings by means of serpent handling and personal charisma. Even as a child, ``Gracie'' hates her father's insistence on constant prayer, poverty and the need to see God's benevolent ``testing'' in every hardship to which he subjects his family. As she matures, she realizes that her father is a compulsive womanizer who excuses his frequent lapses by claiming that God forgives him whenever he ``backslides.'' Though his behavior eventually drives her mother to suicide, it takes longer for Grace herself to escape her father's psychic clutches. She is seduced by a half-brother at 14 and at 17 marries a melancholy 42-year-old preacher; she has two children and succumbs to an adulterous affair. Smith has great empathy for the poor, uneducated country people who yearn for a transcendent message to infuse their lives with spiritual meaning, and she demonstrates clearly how an aberrant individual like Virgil can attract fervent followers. She is less successful than usual in winning sympathy for her flawed heroine, however. Although she makes understandable the reasons for Grace's shallow personality and shows how a lifetime of sexual repression can trigger infidelity, Grace's abandonment of her children seems implausible, and her suffering never achieves a convincing poignancy. Literary Guild selection. (May)
School Library Journal
YA-Florida Grace Shepard, named for the state in which she was born and for the grace of God, is the daughter of a charismatic serpent-handling preacher. She is content with her early life in Scrabble Creek, North Carolina-no easy task when her family moves whenever her father is arrested for conducting services with live snakes-and she even finds a friend. With Southern style, Smith takes Grace from a young girl struggling with her own identity, though marriage, motherhood, and an adulterous affair that changes her very way of life. Readers go along on a journey of wonders, miracles, and tragedy with all the people Grace meets. This is not a tale of adventure but rather of Southern life and spiritual searching.-Katherine Fitch, Lake Braddock Middle School, Burke, VA
Franny Glass
Florida Grace ("Florida for the state I was born in, Grace for the grace of God" ) pours out her life story in a voice as clear and sweet as mountain water. And what a story it is: raised by her charismatic father, an itinerant, serpent-handling preacher, and her devout, long-suffering mother, Gracie harbors a secret hatred of Jesus. She yearns to live in a brick house and to have a Barbie doll instead of having to travel and to live with strangers in tents and old school buses. Her father believes that God will provide and turns a blind eye to his family's poverty and suffering. The first chance she gets, she marries the duty-bound Reverend Travis Word, but by the time she turns 33, she feels like an old woman. She eventually comes full circle at Uncle Slidell's Christian Fun Golf Course, for at hole number 10, "The First Christmas," she hears the baby Jesus cry out to her. Returning to a North Carolina cabin, the site of her few happy childhood memories, Gracie discovers she has the gift of second sight and reunites with the serpent-handling congregation her father originally founded. Popular southern writer Smith sweeps readers in with her fascinating portrayal of a bizarre, arcane religious cult; in particular, the scenes depicting religous ecstasy are mesmerizing.
From the Publisher
Praise for SAVING GRACE:

"Evocative...Lyric, poetic and subtly cosmic...her best yet." --San Francisco Chronicle

"Lucid in execution, breathtaking in scope and hear-rending in effect--a redemptive work of art." --The Washington Post Book World

"A Compelling journey into all matters southern and spiritual." --The Boston Sunday Globe

"Smith is peerless at evoking an entire world with a detail or two...The comedy is rich, and the sense of place is intense." --Detroit Free Press 

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399140501
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
05/24/1995
Pages:
273
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.28(h) x 1.09(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
Praise for SAVING GRACE:

"Evocative...Lyric, poetic and subtly cosmic...her best yet." —San Francisco Chronicle

"Lucid in execution, breathtaking in scope and hear-rending in effect—a redemptive work of art." —The Washington Post Book World

"A Compelling journey into all matters southern and spiritual." —The Boston Sunday Globe

"Smith is peerless at evoking an entire world with a detail or two...The comedy is rich, and the sense of place is intense." —Detroit Free Press

Meet the Author

Lee Smith is the New York Times bestselling author of numerous novels, including Saving Grace and The Last Girls. One of the most distinctive literary voices to portray the American South, Smith has won the O. Henry Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Fiction, and the Southern Book Critics Circle Award.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Saving Grace 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
emilyray More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. It was an interesting read that held my attention as the characters evolved.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am an avid reader, especially now that I live where television consists of 4 English Channels, but is was so before moving to this island. My favorite books are by authors like Barbara Kingsolver, Dianna Gabaldon, Sharyn McCrumb, Sue Monk Kid and and recently discovered Denise Giardina ~ all excellent writers. I discovered Lee when I found this particular book in my mother's things after her passing. It enticed me, as I had gone to school with Lee. Like the other female writers, Lee provides a window through which we can see and marvel at our female strengths and social roles. Lee's novels are very earthy and more real because of it. It is wonderful to have novels like her's that are by a woman about being a woman. We so need to bring a focus and appreciation to what it is to be female or what it was for our recent female ancestors to be so. Lee presents the lives of females in mountains of the south east with clarity, sympathy and passion.
Guest More than 1 year ago
in one. Grace's childhood is worth 5 stars, however Grace's transition into adulthood years and the ending doesn't measure up. In total this is a good book, worth reading for the unforgettable first half (I read it 3 years ago and still remember it very well).
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book in a matter of hours. It was not necissarily the best story ever, but it was interesting and well written. Grace's story was very tragic and hr life anything but boring. I recommend this book for anyone who loves to read about people's journey for salvation, happiness, and finding themselves. Although i did not consider myself religious while reading this. This will not change your view, but it does help you relaize that if you don't beleive its okay, and your not necissarily going to hell if your not a christain at the beginning of your life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was the first novel I read in college. The characters are wonderfully developed and the story will stay with you long after the novel ends. It renewed my love for reading and inspired me to read everything written by Lee Smith, not to mention, become an English major.