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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
The changes caused by events and the impossibility of reversing those changes are the themes of Kay Sloan's atmospheric novel set in 1960s Mississippi. Early one morning, Bernice Starling, a onetime blues singer, is murdered in her pickup, leaving behind a husband and two daughters. Later that same day, local TV weatherman Levi Litvak is killed in a fiery one-car crash. Soon, rumors begin to fly: Levi and Bernice had been lovers; Levi ended both of their lives when Bernice broke it off.
The ramifications of Bernice's murder fall hard on her family. And for years, the rumors continue, some of them racially charged. Bernice's younger daughter, Jubilee, inherits her mother's red Chevy truck but refuses to wash away the memory of her mother in the blood on the seats, instead draping bath towels over them like slipcovers. But eventually, Jubilee decides to escape the lingering memories of her mother's death by applying herself at school and making plans to attend college far away, at Berkeley. Will a simple change in geography make things better? As Jubilee tells her boyfriend, "I'll always be different because of what happened to my mother." The truth of her mother's life is just a small part of this beautifully written story, which follows Jubilee's wrenching search -- simply for a way out. (Fall 2004 Selection)