Land Where My Fathers Died

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9781893956278: Land Where My Fathers Died

Losing his only remaining family in an accident just weeks before he is released from prison for a crime he did not commit, Jo Shelby Ferguson inherits ancestral letters chronicling the family's flight to Mexico, and he strikes out to retrace the journey.

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From Publishers Weekly:

A young man leaves his Mississippi home to search for his family's legacy in 1950s Mexico in Morris's powerful but derivative debut novel, which echoes Cormac McCarthy's The Crossing in both style and story line. After serving six years for a murder he didn't commit, Jo Shelby Ferguson returns to the plantation town where he used to live and where he has a job offer from the plantation owner as well as romantic opportunity with the man's daughter. But when he discovers a collection of letters written by his great-great-grandmother, chronicling the Mexican adventures of his namesake, a 19th-century general whose "new little south" colony was destroyed by the Juaristas in 1866, he decides to journey to Mexico to find the hacienda that the letters promised would be the family's refuge. He's imprisoned again, though, when the Mexican police discover him carrying a family artifact, an ancient ball-and-powder gun that doesn't even fire. Ferguson's battle to outlast the brutal Mexican prison authorities is a familiar story, but he receives some intriguing assistance from a fellow inmate named Ramon Garcia, a former professor and landowner who helps arrange his freedom and then steers him toward a meeting with Garcia's mother and his beautiful daughter, both of whom help Ferguson in his quest. That quest makes for a truly memorable literary journey, with Morris combining a strong plot with first-rate characters and some elegiac writing about the link between families, the land and its history. The parallels to McCarthy are so noticeable that they rob the book of its uniqueness, but Morris's obvious talent shines through from start to finish.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

First novelist Morris, a Mississippi pastor-turned-psychologist who also writes poetry and short stories, tells a poignant tale of a young man's search for identity. In 1954, Jo Shelby Ferguson is released from a Mississippi prison after a six-year incarceration during which his parents and grandfather died, leaving him a trunk filled with family memorabilia. Taking from the trunk only pictures, letters sent by his great-great-grandmother from Mexico, and an antique Navy Colt, Jo Shelby strikes out for Mexico in search of the family he has never met. The journey is a patchwork of good times and bad, including travels through idyllic country and touching stories of good deeds and friendships, as well as a month in a Mexican jail and many encounters with crooked law officers and petty criminals. This beautifully upbeat and enduring novel is recommended for all ages, especially in areas with large Hispanic populations. Thomas L. Kilpatrick, Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Morris, Joe Edward;Morris, Joe Edd
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