South of Resurrectionby Jonis Agee
At the age of sixteen, Moline Bedwell fled her hometown of Resurrection, Missouri, and never looked back. Now, twenty years later, sheÆs intent on returning to Resurrection to take care of some family business. But what started out as a short visit turns increasingly complex as Moline confronts the ghosts of her past and contends with the impact of the present on her dying hometown: she struggles to save her familyÆs pig farm from the greedy clutches of an agriculture conglomerate, and she resumes her passionate affair with Dayrell Bell, the wild hillbilly boy she abandoned all those years ago.
Jonis Agee takes us into the hearts and minds of a community on the verge of extinction and introduces us to characters so vivid and memorable that we feel as if weÆve known them all our lives. In South of Resurrection, AgeeÆs intensely beautiful writing proves yet again why The New York Times calls her a "gifted poet of that dark lushness in the heart of the American landscape."
Agee (Strange Angels, 1993, etc.) has always demonstrated a distinctive skill for creating complex, tough-minded, open-hearted women. In the past, though, her novelswhile zestyhave sometimes felt loose, too filled with rich talk at the expense of incident. Here, the talk (wonderfully salty and vigorous without seeming archaic or forced) is in the service of a lively and convincing plot. Middle-aged Moline Bedwell, having survived a disastrous marriage and the death of several loved ones, returns home to Resurrection, Missouri, in the Ozarks, in search of sanctuary. But solace is in short supply: The wonderfully named Heart Hog corporation wants to buy up much of the land around Resurrection for development, effectively splitting the townsfolk into two warring campsthose hungry for the freedom they believe money and change will bring, and those convinced that what's best about Resurrection is its isolation. Moline also encounters Dayrell Bell, the still handsome love of her youth. She'd left Resurrection in the aftermath of an accident that left Dayrell badly injured, and a young girl dead. Dayrell, it turns out, is as charming, and seemingly as wayward, as ever. He also still seems to labor under the influence of his violent, self-destructive brother McCall, who's been recruited by Heart Hog to apply pressure to those unwilling to give up their land. Moline finds herself reluctantly drawn into the battle on the side of the preservationists, and back into Dayrell's orbit. Meanwhile, Agee gently peels away the many layers of history that accumulate when a family has lived in one place for a very long time. There's a pleasing and believable succession of secrets revealed. And Moline and Dayrell's wary courtship is among the most brambly, and original, in recent fiction.
One of the best novels by anyone writing today about the old, long-settled corner of the South.
- Penguin Group (USA)
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 4.94(w) x 7.74(h) x 0.71(d)
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I loved this book! The writing is just amazing. The word pictures so vivid, I lived in Resurrection with these people.It's a story of real people with real feelings and emotions good and bad. It left me feeling happy and fulfilled and anxious to get my hands on another book by Jonis Agee!