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Eden " Signed "

Vernon, Olympia

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ISBN 10: 0802117287 / ISBN 13: 9780802117281
Published by Grove Press, 2003
Condition: Fine Hardcover
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About this Item

2003. Fine first edition first print in fine dust jacket protected with Mylar cover. Signed and dated by author on title page. Bookseller Inventory # 586

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Eden " Signed "

Publisher: Grove Press

Publication Date: 2003

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Signed: Signed by Author

Edition: First Edition.

Book Type: Hardback

About this title

Synopsis:

Eden is a fearless and wildly original debut, a powerhouse of a novel that explodes on the first page and sustains a tightrope intensity until the last. When fourteen-year-old Maddy Dangerfield draws a naked woman on the pages of Genesis in fire-engine-red lipstick during Sunday school, the rural black community of Pyke County, Mississippi, is scandalized. Her mother, mortified by the small-town gossip and determined to teach Maddy the perils of her youthful intelligence, forces her from then on to spend weekends caring for her estranged Aunt Pip, an outcast who lives on the wrong side of town and is dying of cancer. The lessons Maddy learns are ones that could not be taught in any church. Shuttling between the home she shares with her parents -- endlessly locked in a cycle of resentment, violence, and only sporadic tenderness -- and the house of tough, strong-minded Aunt Pip out on Commitment Road, Maddy feels her eyes gradually opening to the complicated dynamics that inform her world. As the once self-possessed, fiery Pip wastes away in body and spirit, Maddy is forced to confront the brutal finality of death and to contend with the ghosts that hover over Pyke County -- the violated body of Laurel Pillar, a young white girl raped in the field years before; Uncle Sugar, the black man said to have Laurel's blood on his hands, in prison for life; Justice Bates, Sugar's alleged accomplice, his broken body strung up and hanging from a tree; and the community of dead and dying women who have been ravaged by disease, in whom Maddy finds a terrible sort of comfort. In lush, vivid brush strokes, Olympia Vernon conjures a world that is both intoxicating and cruel, and illuminates the bittersweet transformation of the young girl who must bear the burden and blessing of its secrets too soon. Eden is a haunting, memorable novel propelled by the poetry and power of a voice that is complex, lyrical, and utterly true.

From Publishers Weekly:

A young girl is sent to nurse her dying aunt in this arresting, uncompromising debut. Fourteen-year-old Maddy Dangerfield lives with her parents in rural Mississippi: her mother, Faye, obese and devoutly religious, is "a maid for damn near every white man in Pyke County"; her alcoholic, illiterate father, Chevrolet, works in a scrap yard and spends the family's money on whores and gambling. One of his sexual conquests was Faye's sister, Pip, who is estranged from the family as a result. To teach Maddy about mortality (and to assuage her own conscience), Faye sends Maddy to Pip's home on weekends to help care for her as she succumbs to breast cancer. What makes the book stand out is not its relatively simple plot, but Vernon's idiosyncratic prose style ("he laughed and folded his arms as if he controlled my vocabulary") and Maddy's stark, often surreal perception of the world. Her burgeoning sexuality is illustrated less by her crush on young laborer Landy Collins than by the way she describes the tangled mess of smells and sensations that define the people around her, who are "all, in some way, falling apart." The tone is relentlessly grim, infused with religious superstition, racism and death; macabre events-Chevrolet's mutilation at the hands of his mother-in-law, the death of a troubled orphan, the slaughtering of a hog-are scattered like land mines throughout. But what Vernon's story lacks in optimism, it more than makes up for with raw power and insight.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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