In a Temple of Trees: A Novel

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9781931561419: In a Temple of Trees: A Novel

Cecil Durgin, a twelve-year-old African-American orphan, mutely witnesses the perverse buildup to a brutal murder at an exclusive hunting camp in 1958. Decades later, the shame and guilt still haunt him when fissures begin forming in the lives of several characters unwittingly connected by a young woman's body buried deep in the West Alabama woods. Thirty years of pressure and bitterness ignite an unstoppable chain reaction leading back to the night of the murder - and the truth.
In a Temple of Trees is the story of painful secrets and their aftermath on the powerful and the meek, husbands and wives, the living and the dead.

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From Booklist:

Hudson's first novel often reads like a lurid melodrama; however, its fearless exposure of the virulence of racism and its conflicted protagonist give it a searing complexity. Born of the union between a rich white man and a naive black girl, Cecil Durgin has been "adopted" by Three Breezes, Alabama's only Jewish couple, so that he will always be within the orbit of his powerful father. At the age of 12, Cecil witnesses the vicious murder of a prostitute by one of his father's cronies and is coerced into silence. The brutal sight of the beaten dead woman stays with him as he grows into adulthood, leaving him feeling guilty, prone to visions, and open to the attentions of vulnerable and troubled women. When he seeks to parlay his unique position within the black community into a political force to be reckoned with, the town's white inner circle plots to bring him down. Although at times the novel seems a jumble--part potboiler, part political novel--it's written with raw candor and fierce emotion. Joanne Wilkinson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review:

"Bawdy, grotesque, beautiful, gruesome, ribald, and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny. Such is the paradox of Hudson's novel, a deeply dark, often absurd, but always true version of the ugly, old, racist South. Hudson is fearless in confronting the awful verities of a past and present most would like to forget or ignore. Not a book for those prone, in her words, to getting 'the vapors, ' but brilliant in its exploration of a society's self-loathing, of the refusal of a courageous few to let evil win out."

Brad Watson, National Book Award finalist (The Heaven of Mercury) and author of Miss Jane (2016)

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