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Having won and lost the woman he has loved since seeing her do a naked cartwheel in 1916, Finus Bates wonders if the colorful characters from their hometown hold the secrets to her elusive character. 22,500 first printing.
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Brad Watson's The Heaven of Mercury brings fresh, sly humor to the traditionally dark genre of Southern gothic. It's the story of the small town of Mercury, Mississippi, told through the lives of various inhabitants, including a white man, Finus, and his lifelong love, Birdie; and a black girl, Creasie, and her Aunt Vish--slave descendants who see Mercury as the zone of their captivity. All over Mercury, characters dream about moments in the past when they wish they'd had the courage to change the course of their lives. Watson’s (Last Days of the Dog-Men) ornate, lush prose will remind readers of Faulkner, but he has a much lighter touch. Mercury is a sad world of violent drunks, unpunished crimes, and unrequited love, but Watson’s wry observations work to dispel the gloom (a strict Christian woman wears "a tight brown bun in her hair like an onion God drew forth from her mind"). The Heaven of Mercury is an ambitious work from an important voice in American fiction--a voice with a distinctly Southern accent. --Ellen WilliamsAbout the Author:
Brad Watson is the author of Last Days of the Dog-Men, winner of the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Foley, Alabama.
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