This One and Magic Life: A Novel of a Southern Family

Overview

A dark shadow envelops the grand old homestead overlooking Mobile Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, as a family gathers to mourn the untimely death of the remarkable woman who lived there. Artie Sullivan: world-famous artist, beloved daughter, sister and aunt, her powerful presence still felt even in death; her last request shattering convention and causing painful discord among those who loved her. Bound by blood, marriage, illicit alliances, and a terrible secret still buried, each must deal with bittersweet ...
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2004 Library Binding N jacket New with dust jacket, clean, tight, unmarked, (Fine with Fine Dust Jacket)() In the deep South, where love and hatred run deep and close, ... dissension often summers just beneath the surface. When a family gathers for a funeral as its old homestead above the waters of Mobile Bay, it must carry out the last wish of the aunt and sister whom it has come to mourn. It is a wish that will unearth a terrible secret, one that will either tear her siblings and their offspring apart or allow them to accept b. Read more Show Less

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This One and Magic Life

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Overview

A dark shadow envelops the grand old homestead overlooking Mobile Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, as a family gathers to mourn the untimely death of the remarkable woman who lived there. Artie Sullivan: world-famous artist, beloved daughter, sister and aunt, her powerful presence still felt even in death; her last request shattering convention and causing painful discord among those who loved her. Bound by blood, marriage, illicit alliances, and a terrible secret still buried, each must deal with bittersweet memories, and words left unspoken. Arties's younger brother Hektor is devastated by the death of his sister, but it is Donnie, Artie's twin, who feels he has lost a part of his soul, while his wife Mariel has lost a rival. Their daughter Dolly, who at twenty-seven is divorced form a man she still loves, is engulfed by huge sorrows of her own, and has inherited the house filled with ghosts of the past.

Yet in the often mysterious land of the deep South, where love and hatred run deep and lose, and dissension often simmers just beneath the surface, Artie's passing has touched many others as well, and brings cousins, servants, and neighbors to a place where artificial boundaries vanish. And in this unforgettable almost-forbidden place of pain and love, loss and passion, each of the Sullivans will discover truths long buried in silence, in taboos, and in the heart.

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Editorial Reviews

Chicago Tribune
Evocative, often lyrical, and some of the shorter chapters read almost like prose poems...Gentle, bittersweet.
Houston Chronicle
A novel about a dysfuntional Southern family such Southern opuses as the The Prince of Tides and Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Award-winning author of the Southern Sisters Mysteries (Murder Shoots the Bull, etc.) and former Alabama State Poet, George proves she can smoothly shift genres in this silky and passionate literary novel. Sullivan family members are returning to their sleepy Harlow, Ala., hometown to mourn the death of 58-year-old Artie (Artemis) Sullivan, a spunky and talented painter. Her twin brother, Donnie (Adonis), and younger sibling, Hektor, along with Donnie's wife, Mariel, and their daughter, Dolly, learn more than they expected. Artie's death has her loved ones ransacking their memories to hold the truths, half-truths and outright lies of their lives up to the light. Upset by Artie's wish to be cremated, Mariel produces a fake funeral to keep up appearances, while she examines her jealousy of Artie's intense bond with Donnie and Dolly. Donnie and Hektor unearth painful memories about their parents' early deaths and their mother's mental instability, seductive beauty and affair with neighbor Zeke Pardue. They also reveal a dark, decades-old family secret that only Artie's death could bring to the surface. The narrative can be confusing as it haphazardly switches points of view: some chapters are in the third person, others are written in the voices of various characters. But perhaps the polyvocal approach is an adequate device to explain the myriad entanglements and reveal the harbored secrets of this family. Sad moments include a father who accidentally kills his baby by leaving her out in the hot sun while he passes out drunk; a more subtle passage features Artemis making love with her cousin Bo. Drawing on her poetic roots, George's assured, soft Southern prose is full of symbolism and lyrical phrases, with much stargazing, Greek mythology and rising and setting suns to infuse the homey story with a mystical aura. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
A poet who has been nominated for a Pulitzer and the Agatha Award-winning author of the "Southern Sisters" mystery novels, George spins the tale of a Southern family who gather at the old homestead on Mobile Bay, finally united after a member's death. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781585474332
  • Publisher: Center Point Large Print
  • Publication date: 6/28/2004
  • Edition description: Large Print Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.96 (w) x 8.74 (h) x 1.03 (d)

Meet the Author

Anne George (c.____ - 2001) was the Agatha Award-winning author of the Southern Sisters mystery series which culminate in Murder Boogies with Elvis, publishing in August 2001. Like Patricia Anne, she was a happily married former school teacher living in Birmingham, Alabama. Ms. George was also a former Alabama State Poet and a regular contributor to literary publications. During her lifetime she was nominated for several awards, including the Pulitzer. Being a true lady of the Old South, her date of birth will forever be a mystery.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One



Artie



The Bay. It draws her these last few nights of her dying. She rises from her bed that has been placed downstairs, and, careful not to wake Mrs. Randolph, opens the front door and steps onto the porch.

She is weak, but the pain is distant, like a thunderstorm held at the horizon. She crosses the yard slowly and rests at the top of the steps that lead to the beach. The air is warm, moist, and still. She feels it settling around her. Then slowly she begins her descent. Sea oats brush against her hands as she clasps the railing.

She pulls off her nightgown, folds it on the last step, and crosses the narrow beach to the water. The sand is cool to her bare feet, but the water is warm and quiet as bathwater. She walks into it and sits down, then lies back, one arm beneath her head.

The moon is a cup spilling out stars. Was it Papa who had said that once? Or had she read it? It doesn't matter. She sees that it is true. Stars drop from the sky, burning, into the bay.

She could sleep here like a baby in its sea of amniotic fluid. Sometimes she thinks she remembers what that was like, floating with Donnie in Sarah's belly.

Sarah.

Artie closes her eyes and sees them all: Donnie, her other half, Carl, her husband, Bo, her love, Dolly, child of her heart, Hektor, Zeke Pardue, Papa, Mama.

Warp and woof of her life. But, on these last few nights of her dying, it is Sarah, her mother, that Artie longs for.

When she sits up, water pools in the bony conclaves of her body. She holds her palms together, fills them with water, and, bending, pours the water slowly over herhead.

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 12, 2010

    Great Read!

    I've read all the sister books that Ann George has written. Although this was a story unto itself, I could tell that it was her style. It's theme was interwoven with very intricate characters. The vivid account of life in the south made you want to be there to experience every aspect of it. Never knew about "Jubilee" - would love to experience it. This book was a real page turner! Wish there were more like it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2003

    A Look Into the South

    This One and Magic Life provides such an encompassing view of the ways of a southern family. Romance and intrigue were my favorite parts of George's work of fiction.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2001

    What a change of pace

    If you have not yet read all of Anne George's books, then you should. All of the others are murder mysteries. This was a good change of pace for her. I truely loved this book. Being raised on Mobile Bay, this book took me back to my childhood.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2000

    Wonderful

    This is a great book that I could not put down!! The desription of Alabama where the story takes place is fantasic. The author takes you right into the story. I really connected with this book. I was hooked after just the first page.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2000

    I can hardly wait for June.

    Having recently learned that Ms. George is to release another book in June, I have reread 'This Once and Magic Life' while a bide my time. I was enchanted with Ms. George in her 'Sister Series' books, but this work may be her best yet ... at least until June.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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