FINUS BATES HAS LOVED chatty, elegant Birdie Wells ever since he saw her cartwheel naked through the woods near the backwater town of Mercury, Mississippi, in 1917. He's loved her for some eighty years: through their marriages to other people, through the mysterious early death of Birdie's womanizing husband. Earl, and through all the poisonous accusations against Birdie by Earl's no-good relatives. With "graceful, patient, insightful and hilarious" prose (USA Today), Brad Watson chronicles Finus's steadfast devotion and Mercury's evolution from a sleepy backwater to a small city. With this "tragicomic story of missed opportunities and unjust necessities" (Fred Chappell), "Southern storytelling is alive and well in Watson's capable hands" (Kirkus Reviews, starred review). "His work may remind readers of William Faulkner, Toni Morrison, or Flannery O'Connor, but has a power--and a charm--all its own, more pellucid than the first, gentler than the second, and kinder than the third" (Baltimore Sun).
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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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Book Description W W Norton & Co Inc, Scranton, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., 2002. Trade Paperback. Book Condition: New. Advanced Reading Copy, !New, no remainder marks, no shelf wear, no surprises. Same day Shping.!. Advanced Reading Copy. Bookseller Inventory # Ix175
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