Arriving in a small Tennessee town at the end of World War I, European Paul Alexander finds himself drawn into the life of the town, encountering industry man Moreland Pinkerton and his arch-rival Brian Ledbetter.
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Following a hiatus of more than 15 years, in which Marius wrote the acclaimed biography Thomas More (1984), he returns to fiction with a moving vision of race, religion, and progress in the Tennessee back-country during WW I and the 1920's. Worldly Paul Alexander arrives in remote Bourbonville to take a position as chemist for the local rail-car foundry, after having been severely wounded in battle while serving in the Belgian infantry. As a foreigner he immediately becomes an object of gossip and curiosity, as well as the center of deepening controversy when powerful rivals in town seek to win him over. A sensitive man of few words, he has to cope not only with ignorance and xenophobia but also with the shadows of his past--the comforting ghosts of his two best friends, killed in action beside him, and the family tragedy that swept him from a comfortable childhood in Greece to war-torn Belgium. He balances the respect of his domineering boss, Moreland Pinkerton, with the friendship of the powerful Ledbetter clan, who resent Pinkerton's disruption of traditional ways as he transformed the local swamp into his foundry, until the actions of a proud, well-informed, and black ex-soldier ignite a powder keg: a Klan lynching, a bloody strike, and Pinkerton's murder. Alexander is tapped to replace his boss and fully intends to leave soon, but marriage, a child, and a growing sense of belonging as years pass quietly mold him into a respected, permanent resident. An unusual, compelling immigrant's tale, vibrant in mingling present and past and redolent with personal and social history; the dramatic peaks are masterful and memorable, even if the fires burn low in the end. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
Just as Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha County is a microcosm of the anguish of the post-Civil War South, so Marius's Bourbon County in eastern Tennessee is a mirror of the anxieties, racial tensions and xenophobia of mainstream America in the aftermath of World War I. Paul Alexander, the narrator of this magnificent novel, is a Greek immigrant raised in Belgium who is haunted by the specters of his two closest friends, both killed alongside him in battle. As Alexander, himself a wounded young veteran, adjusts to life in provincial Tennessee, where he works as a chemist in an iron foundry, the shades of his two dead buddies--or his hallucination of them--interact with him and comment ironically on the action. Bourbonville's crises turn on the conflict of values between Moreland Pinkerton, a crude, expansive foundry owner emblematic of untamed industrial progress, and Brian Ledbetter, an old independent farmer with five wayward stepsons. Writing with the depth and veracity of classic realist fiction, Marius ( Bound for the Promised Land ) spins subplots about Paul's search for the cowardly father who abandoned him; Paul's passionate but loveless affair with an older woman; and a black WW I pilot's visions of political revolution. A wondrous odyssey, this moving novel is a deep meditation on whether our lives are shaped by destiny or a chain of accidents.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Knopf. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0394583221 14. Bookseller Inventory # 7H-HCXN-WDMX
Book Description Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1992. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. Clean, bright copy in mylar-protected dj. Bookseller Inventory # 000263
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Book Description Knopf, 1992. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110394583221
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