Walking Across Egypt

( 10 )

Overview

"An unpretentious, finely-crafted novel that will linger with the readers like the last strains of a favorite hymn. It is more enjoyable than a pitcher full of sweet tea and one of Mattie's home-cooked dinners."
THE ATLANTA JOURNAL & CONSTITUTION
She had as much business keeping a stray dog as she had walking across Egypt--which not so incidentally is the title of her favorite hymn. She's Mattie Rigsbee, an independent, strong-minded senior citizen, who at 78, might be ...
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Walking Across Egypt

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Overview

"An unpretentious, finely-crafted novel that will linger with the readers like the last strains of a favorite hymn. It is more enjoyable than a pitcher full of sweet tea and one of Mattie's home-cooked dinners."
THE ATLANTA JOURNAL & CONSTITUTION
She had as much business keeping a stray dog as she had walking across Egypt--which not so incidentally is the title of her favorite hymn. She's Mattie Rigsbee, an independent, strong-minded senior citizen, who at 78, might be slowing down just a bit. When young, delinquent Wesley Benfield drops in on her life, he is even less likely a companion than the stray dog. But, of course, the dog never tasted her mouth-watering pound cake....Wise witty, down-home and real, WALKING ACROSS EGYPT is a book for everyone.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

She is Mattie Rigsbee, an independent, strong-minded senior citizen who might just be slowing a bit. When young delinquent Wesley Benfield drops into her life, he is an even less likely companion than her stray dog. But once Mattie starts taking in strays, there is no stopping her.

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Editorial Reviews

Kathryn Morton
''Walking Across Egypt'' (the title is from a hymn) lacks the coherent form of the first book and struggles at the start against the author's penchant for picturesque farce. -- New York Times
Library Journal
This second novel by the author of Raney is warm and comforting, like a visit to Grandma's. Mattie Rigsbee, at 78, is slowing down. She plans her funeral so as not to be a burden; she supports the local Baptist church and entertains herself with hymns at the parlor piano; she tries not to meddle in her children's lives, though she does wish they'd marry; she longs for grandchildren. Then comes Wesley. Reared in an orphanage until he graduated to the reformatory, Wesley touches her heart, revives a life gone to seed. Just as he needs a grandmother's love and stability, so Mattie needs his challenge, dependence, and love. How she reconciles that need before family, neighbors, and church congregation is a beautiful story of determination, made more poignant by a Southern small-town setting. BOMC alternate. Thomas L. Kilpatrick, Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale
School Library Journal
YA A quietly humorous story set in a small town in North Carolina. Seventy-eight year old Mattie Riggsbee, spunky and determined, has one regret: she has no grandchildren, as her son and daughter inconveniently remain unmarried. The story gathers momentum after a slightly sluggish start, when Wesley Benfield, wayward teenager and orphan, comes into Mattie's life. Their need for each other is apparent, and their attempts to get together, despite the disapproval of Mattie's family and neighbors, are the focus of the story. Wesley is captivated by Mattie's good cooking and grandmotherly attention, and when he escapes from a house of detention, he heads straight to Mattie. There is a hilarious scene in church, where the fleeing Wesley and the pursuing deputy sheriff, both disguised as choir members, sit beside each other in full view of the congregation. Edgerton infuses all of his characters with reality, and provides a balanced perspective on age and youth. His understanding of teenagers is nowhere more evident than in the contrast between the reality of Wesley's situation and the humor of his exaggerated fantasies. Rita G. Keeler, St. John's School, Houston
From the Publisher
“Reading this book is like sitting down to a big round table full of the best food you ever put in your mouth; you can’t quit eating for a minute, this is just so good.”
–LEE SMITH, bestselling author of The Last Girls

“An unpretentious, finely crafted novel that will linger with the readers like the last strains of a favorite hymn. It is more enjoyable than a pitcher full of sweet tea and one of Mattie’s home-cooked dinners.”
The Atlanta Journal

“Genuinely funny, often poignant . . . Edgerton has captured the habits and manners of a small Southern community with loving precision.”
Greensboro News & Record

“[A] totally delicious bit-of-a-book . . . Reads faster than you’ll want it to, and ends far earlier.”
–The Cleveland Plain Dealer

“A winner, a homespun romp that I suspect Mark Twain would have loved.”
The Columbia State

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345346490
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/28/1988
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 165,302
  • Lexile: 670L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 4.16 (w) x 6.85 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Meet the Author

Clyde Edgerton is the author of eight novels, five of which have been New York Times Notables. He is a professor of creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and performs with his band, Rank Strangers. Author Web site—www.clydeedgerton.com.
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Table of Contents

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Reading Group Guide

1. Is religion treated positively in this novel? Negatively?
Neither? Both? How?

2. Does the novel seem to end too soon? Why or who not?

3. What is your opinion of the manner in which Mattie Rigsbee,
standing before several “ghosts,” makes her decision to take in Wesley Benfield.

4. Do you know people who remind you of Mattie Rigsbee?
If so, what are their shared characteristics?

5. The novel is over one-third finished when one of the main characters, Wesley Benfield, is introduced. Does this delayed entry seem to detract from or enhance the plot structure, and how?

6. How would you interpret, psychologically, Mattie’s need to feed people?

7. Do you think Mattie did a good job raising her children?
Why?

8. How would you describe Mattie’s relationship with her church?

9. At one point in the story, Mattie speaks of marrying Wesley.
Is this her idea of a joke? A sign of senility or stroke? All of the above? Neither?

10. Would this book be appropriate for high school readers?
Why?

11. In two sentences say what you think this book is about.

12. What are issues in this book that divide and will continue to divide generations in the foreseeable future?

13. How does food play a part in your upbringing?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 10 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

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1 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Feisty Characters & Small Town Life

    I like the sentences, I like the general ambiance, the depiction of a small town and the characters are well drawn. We meet a feisty senior citizen, a lonely man she befriends and a juvenile delinquent she tries to help. Raney was a masterpiece and even though this one was not all that, more clever than brilliant, I still want to read the entire output of this author. http://timothyherrick.blogspot.com/

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 22, 2013

    Funny and sweet.

    This is a life book and a "laugh out loud" book. it is a must read for seniors or childern of seniors

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

    Posted February 1, 2007

    An..interesting read

    Though this book has some attention grabbing sections, it starts off as a book that takes extreme determination to get through. At the end you can admit that it wasn't a total waste of time, but first you have to get through it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted November 9, 2004

    Jesus Could Be Anybody

    In the book Walking Across Egypt,by Clyde Edgerton, the plot is in an old woman's house in South Carolina. The old woman is Mattie Rigsbee, but poor Mattie does not realize how much the outside world has changed. 'I'm slowin' down' says Mattie many times through out the book. Even when all the others at church say Mattie is one of the most active and healthy people they know. Walking Across Egypt is a Fiction book but might have very well happened, or may have been played off of realistic events. Clyde Edgerton's description of settings and people in this book are amazing, creative metaphors and similies are used through out the book.The problem in the book starts when Mattie finds a stray dog outside her house and calls the dogcatcher to come get it. Right before this Mattie called the furniture repair man to mkae her new chair bottoms, therefore her chairs has no bottoms to sit down in. She had forgotten about this and accidentally sat down in one of the chairs without a bottom. Mattie was not only embarassed about that at the time, but also was embarassed that her favorite soap opera was on also. Mattie didn't want any one the find out about the situations she was in, so she does not call for help and consequently stayed in the chair for six to eight hours. Suddenly she hears a knock at her door, 'Come in, come in!' she said with relief and embarrrassment. The dogcatcher, Lamar helps cut her out of the chair and also does her dishes for her. If you enjoy funny yet serious books, you would proabbaly enjoy this book. Clyde Edgerton's other book, Raney, is very similiar to the one in the descriptions and metaphors he uses.The difference with the fiction book than others, is that this could actually happen and the meaning is very biblical. The Chapters are not too long so if you do not like reading alot at one time, this is a good book for you. This book is fairly long. Lamar's nephew, Weseley,is a Juvinile Delinquent, and is humurously tied into the plott. He escaped from the detention center, but realizes that he must serve time for his crime. But he grows close to Mattie Rigsbee and becomes a better preson eventually. This book is very good and shows that the bad can be good and the even the good can be bad. It also shows that appearance is not something you should judge some one by, and that only God can judge us. This meaning behind this book is amazing, and i recommend it for everyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2003

    Meaningful Comedy

    Edgerton has done it once again! He delicately interweaves comedy into his plot, allowing for a most fascinating story. This novel exemplifies a large range of relationships between its characters.

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

    Posted August 7, 2002

    Rebecca's Review of Walking Across Egypt

    'Simply a brilliant novel.' Through much time and patience, an elderly woman, Mattie Rigsbee, turns a troubled delinquint, Wesley Benfield, into a fine young man.

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

    Posted January 3, 2002

    Absolutely breath-taking

    I found myself not only over-indulgent, but addicted to every written word. This story gives a greater insight¿as well as spectrum¿into the well known ¿generation X.¿ You can¿t help, but fall in love with the well presented characters who turn out to be greater than they appear. Without spoiling the ending, I can say that it has quite an uplifting warm change of sequence. This book is a must have and I would STRONGLY recommend it to anyone who believes in love. ¿Nickolas 17 years of age

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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