One Fell Swoop: A Novel in Stories

One Fell Swoop: A Novel in Stories

by Virginia Boyd
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One Fell Swoop: A Novel in Stories by Virginia Boyd

The aftershocks of a murder-suicide resonate through a small town where everybody knows everybody else's business.

By turns hilarious and poignant, this daring, debut novel begins with the violent end of a marriage. A local wife-and-mother has killed her husband after finding him in the midst of an affair. Each chapter, written from a different community member's point of view, shows the ripple effect of that dramatic event and how it has affected the townspeople differently--some directly and others less so, but all meaningfully and irrevocably. As the novel progresses, the narrative spirals inward until the stories of those most intimately involved are ultimately revealed.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781595543998
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 10/09/2007
Pages: 307
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

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One Fell Swoop: A Novel in Stories 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In One Fell Swoop a murder/suicide is reflected upon by a variety of townspeople from different vantage points in time, including that of the murdered philanderer and his killer wife and their orphaned son. The portraits of the Claytons are sensitive and tender. We follow all three victims of this crime as they reach back into their childhoods to make sense of their lives. Each voice (each chapter) is distinctive. Local journalist Casey reflects on her breaking marriage. Her husband's failures to show up for dinner at first are accompanied by apologies but, after a while, he is "angry and sullen as if each night I was intentionally setting him up to fail." All the children in this novel of voices are stunningly eloquent yet authentic. Suzanne has "quit walking on sidewalks" for fear of the harm caused by stepping on cracks in pavement. She says of the Claytons, "Maybe they never even noticed all the cracks in their sidewalk, a river of bad luck running right up to their front door." The novel is peppered throughout with great images, wisdom, and wry humor. One of my favorite lines come near the end when bride-to-be Dawn, not known for self-reflection, muses, "It was even possible to live outside of the South. Other people did." When I closed the book, I wanted to hear from more of Riley's residents.
MinnesotaReader More than 1 year ago
On a hot August day in 1977, a murder-suicide upset life in the small town of Riley, North Carolina. Regina Clayton has shot and killed her husband after finding him in the arms of his mistress. She then takes her own life, as well. The account of this event is told through a collection of interconnected short stories. In each chapter, a different townsperson tells a piece of the story from their viewpoint, using their own voice. The time frame for these stories range from before the murder-suicide to 30 years after. Ms. Boyd has exquisitely created a beautifully-written, engaging story. She did a brilliant job crafting a compelling cast of intriguing characters who completely captivated me. Each had a story to tell and their different perspectives were enthralling. As I read, I found I could relate to many of them in different ways. In addition, she successfully evoked the mood of a small southern town in the throes of a difficult situation. I truly loved this wonderful story and I highly recommend it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Anyone can relate to this tale of a small town tragedy and how it affects the lives of different town citizens. We hear from children to adults and their individual interpretationa of the event and how they are impacted. We see in them bits of people we all know. Virginia's characters are real. The reader will laugh out loud with these people. A truly enjoyable story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you have ever been part of a circle of close friends, neighbors, or relatives, you will enjoy this book. The characters and events could have easily existed in the small town where I was raised. Virginia Boyd developed each character so real and deeply that I felt like they were talking directly to me and I was inside their heads. I smiled and cried and couldn¿t put down the book. I always enjoy discovering new talented authors and can¿t wait for the next book from this gifted writer.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was captivated by this book from the very beginning, which is laugh-out-loud funny. Throughout the book the characterizations are excellent, evoking wonderful images and memories. There is a wide range of viewpoints tied together by the central theme of the book. Imagery and dialogue are exceptional. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good story well- told.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I finished reading ONE FELL SWOOP, I found myself immediatley re-reading some of the characters, especially Regina and the stories her mother told her. The use of the nightinggale, the stiching, the fantasy world Regina's mother creates touched me more than any of the many other intriguing characters. The novel speaks to me as a Southerner who often struggles with being from the South, as a reader of good fiction, as an admirer of anyone who loves writing and has the 'guts' to stick with it, as a lover of Faulkner's 'The Sound and The Fury' as well as 'As I Lay Dying.' These characters will stay with me, and I will read this novel again--a sign of how much I love this beautifully written work. The wonderfully developed characters, the levels of meaning, the poetic language which I found so touching will bring me back to it again and again.