The Lost Saints of Tennessee

( 5 )

Overview

"Pitch-perfect . . . In her powerful debut, Franklin-Willis expertly crafts a Southern novel that stands with genre classics like The Prince of Tides and Bastard out of Carolina. . . . A measured, slow-burning book, with complex, compelling characters and secrets. A beautiful novel from a talented new author, The Lost Saints of Tennessee proves that in great literature, as in life, we must always expect the unexpected."—Bookpage

With enormous heart and dazzling agility, debut ...

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The Lost Saints of Tennessee

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Overview

"Pitch-perfect . . . In her powerful debut, Franklin-Willis expertly crafts a Southern novel that stands with genre classics like The Prince of Tides and Bastard out of Carolina. . . . A measured, slow-burning book, with complex, compelling characters and secrets. A beautiful novel from a talented new author, The Lost Saints of Tennessee proves that in great literature, as in life, we must always expect the unexpected."—Bookpage

With enormous heart and dazzling agility, debut novelist Amy Franklin-Willis expertly mines the fault lines in one Southern working-class family. Driven by the soulful and intrepid voices of forty-two-year-old Ezekiel Cooper and his mother, Lillian, The Lost Saints of Tennessee journeys from the 1940s to the 1980s as it follows Zeke’s evolution from anointed son to honorable sibling to unhinged middle-aged man.

After Zeke loses his twin brother in a mysterious drowning and his wife to divorce, only ghosts remain in his hometown of Clayton, Tennessee. Zeke makes the decision to leave town in a final attempt to escape his pain, puts his two treasured possessions—a childhood copy of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Tucker, his dead brother’s ancient dog—into his truck, and heads east. He leaves behind two young daughters and his estranged mother, who reveals her own conflicting view of the Cooper family story in a vulnerable but spirited voice stricken by guilt over old sins as she clings to the hope that her family isn’t beyond repair.

When Zeke finds refuge with his sympathetic cousins in Virginia horse country, divine acts in the form of severe weather, illness, and a new romance collide, leading Zeke to a crossroads where he must decide the fate of his family—either by clinging to the way life was or moving toward what life might be.

Written with abundant charm, warmth, and authority, The Lost Saints of Tennessee is the story of a unique brotherhood and a moving consideration of the ways grief can first devastate and then restore.

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Editorial Reviews

Alison McCulloch
…the main characters are agreeably imperfect, their stories sensitively told.
—The New York Times Book Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802120816
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/5/2013
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 622,146
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

An eighth-generation Southerner, Amy Franklin-Willis was born in Birmingham, Alabama. In 2007, she received an Emerging Writer Grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation to complete The Lost Saints of Tennessee.

www.amyfranklin-willis.com

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

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(3)

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2012

    A Must Read!

    Lost Saints of Tennessee is one of those rare, remarkable books that draws you in on the very first page, makes you laugh, makes you cry, and simultaneously breaks your heart and fills you with hope. At its core it’s a story of a family, told by two characters, Zeke and his mother, Lillian, who are both hungry for more than what life has in store for them in their small town in Tennessee. The reader learns the hopes, dreams, tragedies and failings of the family members through these two different points of view, as both characters come to terms with the past, and their own flaws, while trying to wrestle their demons. Ultimately, love and redemption triumph over disappointment and resentment and binds this family together.

    Amy Franklin-Willis is such a talented writer, possessing a magic that reminds me of John Irving. Her writing is both poignant and descriptive, and never over done.
    In short, I would highly recommend this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 26, 2012

    Unforgettable Brothers

    Amy Franklin-Willis has set herself the daunting task of drawing out a good old boy from Tennessee, divorced, working at a factory, taciturn, connected only to his old dog and his truck, into the lovable and believable narrator of his own story. It's a story of loss, betrayal, and bitterness in the past, despair in the present, and the possibility of a new chance at life in the future. She does it majestically -- portraying love without sentimentality, grief without mawkishness, hope without artifice. I can't remember when I have connected on such an emotional level to a male character written by a female author. Maybe not since [book:Water for Elephants|43641] has a male character been so moving.

    Lost Saints in Tennessee is authentic, deep, and true. A heartbreaking story of the realities of loneliness and the power of brotherly love.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2011

    Very good!

    There's not a lot of excitement in this novel, but it's a great story. Losing his twin brother several years earlier has been hard on Ezekiel and as a result his life becomes difficult. His plan to end his suffering takes a surprising turn, and he has to decide what's best for him.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2012

    It pulls you in...

    The story line in this book pulls you in from the beginning. While well written, I do think the characters could have been more developed. Lillian's point of view was the most complete and, in my opinion, honest portrayal of the book. Good read, but left me wanting a little more.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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