The Gospel Hour

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9780688094805: The Gospel Hour

When Donnie Huff survives a fatal logging accident, his ambitious mother-in-law insists that he has returned from the dead, and he embarks on a Pentecostal revival trail and a discovery of his own faith

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From Publishers Weekly:

Even Pearson's humming, pitch-perfect prose can't lift this sluggish, overburdened plot off the ground in its Southern, deep-rural setting. Caught in the cab of his skidder, Donnie Huff drowns when the walnut tree he's dragging downhill slips into the river and drags man and machine after it. His boss, irate at the loss of machine and tree, beats the recovered corpse in his rage and thus revives the young man. Donnie's widowed mother-in-law, convinced he's been to heaven and returned, gets him to speak at her church; his newfound power, particularly over the ladies, and the money pressed into his hand motivate Donnie toward a new career in the revival trade. His success, however, is short-lived as the cool disbelief of his wife and his own sense of rightness persuade him that a more reliable salvation lies closer to home. Pearson tells this simple story in repetitious detail, stretching out each incident to pad the plot. A wealth of comic set-pieces, perfectly realized characterizations and Pearson's ( A Short History of a Small Place ) trademark voice notwithstanding, this Hour would have been better as a 30-minute segment.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

More quirky, comic writing from novelist Pearson (e.g., Off for the Sweet Hereafter , LJ 6/1/86), this story of regional (Virginia/North Carolina), rural goings-on should brighten fiction shelves. Donnie Huff nearly drowns in an accident at work as a logger but revives when thumped by an angry co-worker. His pious mother-in-law sees his miraculous recovery--and possible view of the Other Side--as an opportunity to enter him on the revival circuit. Donnie goes along with her, despite the disbelieving resentment of his wife Marie. Told heavily in vernacular, Donnie's story (he "who through sheer happenstance alone had soared off beyond the ether and loitered there at the portal with the holy Savior") is hilarious and life-affirming.
- Ann H. Fisher, Radford P.L., Va.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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