The Moaner's Bench: A Novel

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9780060930585: The Moaner's Bench: A Novel

Sun Hughes, the youngest child of a middle-class family, must learn to deal with life's harsh realities when the Depression reverses his family's fortunes. Sent to live with his Uncle Pet, a proud and zealous Baptist determined to bring religion to his nephew, Sun grows up--and grows wise--as the world his Mama and Papa kept at a distance slowly comes into focus in stark black and white. The powerful metaphor of the moaner's bench--where sinners kneel in church while waiting for the Spirit to strike them into repentance--infuses this often heartbreaking, often hilarious novel of innocence lost. Lyrically written, with a sly sense of humor, The Moaner's Bench is ultimately a story of healing-healing within oneself, healing between oneself and another, and healing within a nation.

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About the Author:

Mars Hill was born in Arkansas. He received a BA in Architectural Engineering from a University of Illinois and an MA in African-American Studies as well as a DA in Humanistic Studies from the State University of New York at Albany. He lives with his wife, Alvania, in Albany, New York.

From Publishers Weekly:

An eye for detail ("A long string of okrafied spit hung stubbornly from his lip") and an ear for regional speech ("Don't look at me in that tone er voice") are the most satisfying features of this rambling but ingratiating debut about an African American boyhood in Depression-era Arkansas. At 13, Sun Hughes comes to live with his tyrannically religious Uncle Pet, owner of a general store in a small rural community. There he feels the strictures of Jim Crow, not to mention the pressure to conform to the born-again Baptist behavior expected of him as the scion of one of his town's most prominent families. He also feels the strength of sexual temptation, in the person of his precocious, beautiful cousin Saravania. After a strong opening section that provides copious local color, the novel moves back in time to chronicle the tortuous death of Sun's father, Andra, from diabetes, which blinds, then cripples him (in one terrifying scene, he soaks his infected and rotting feet in Lysol) before it takes his life. Pet's disappearance from the story leaves a hole that Hill never quite fills?and the other characters are forceful but not compelling, tied together by the episodes in which they appear rather than by any narrative momentum. Although such a loosely structured series of fictional reminiscences could have profited from a stronger editorial hand, the book, even at its most long-winded, is warm, funny and wonderfully observed. Author tour. (Oct.) FYI: Hill was an architectural engineer before he turned to writing fiction.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Hill, Mars
Published by Harper Perennial, U.S.A. (1999)
ISBN 10: 0060930586 ISBN 13: 9780060930585
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Book Description Harper Perennial, U.S.A., 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: NEW. Paperback. This copy is NEW; the text is clear, bright, and unmarked; binding is tight. Paperback Advance Uncorrected Proofs for Book Reviewer: The covers are also new: absolutely intact in all ways, but special covers for Advance Copy. We have a five star rating because of our fulfilment success and because our descriptions are accurate. All shipments within U.S. sent with Tracking. On foreign sales, because of the heavy weight of this book, we have to charge extra for shipping: however, we will only charge the difference between our regular shipping rate and the extra charge that the U.S.Post Office asks to ship the book. We guarantee: NO NASTY SURPRISES. Paperback. Bookseller Inventory # 019223

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