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Luminous Mysteries

Holman, John

16 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0151003491 / ISBN 13: 9780151003495
Published by Harcourt, Orlando, Florida, U.S.A., 1998
Condition: Near Fine Hardcover
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About this Item

First printing. Signed on title page. Author's first novel following Squabble, a book of short fiction, this book is set in the 'new South.' Unread, near new copy with some shelfwear to top edge of DJ, a couple of smudges. 225 pp. Bookseller Inventory # 4400

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Luminous Mysteries

Publisher: Harcourt, Orlando, Florida, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 1998

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Near Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine

Signed: Signed by Author

Edition: First Edition.

Book Type: Book

About this title


A novel set in the New South, Luminous Mysteries follows the lives of Grim Power and his sister, Rita, from their youth to early middle age. In prose that has been compared to that of Raymond Carver, John Holman tellingly paints a portrait of the lives of middle-class African americans today. “Reminiscent of Steinbeck’s Cannery Row” (Tampa Tribune).


John Holman's first book was a collection of short stories; his second is a novel that is almost a collection of short stories. In Luminous Mysteries, Holman tells the story of Grim Power and his older sister, Rita, in 13 chapters that could each stand alone but are woven together by recurring characters and themes. Orphaned at an early age by their mother's death and their father's desertion, Grim and Rita manage to raise themselves in their small, close-knit African American community. Rita, 15 years older than Grim, does her best to fill the role of surrogate mother, but her bouts of manic depression provide frightening interruptions to their lives. Despite her illness, Rita manages to support herself and her brother teaching math while Grim eventually goes to college. Then Grim drops out, Rita gets married and disappears, only to return a few years later with a husband and three adopted children in tow. Grim, meanwhile, has only recently come back to town himself, after spending time on the road as an itinerant race-car driver among other things. Holman tells the story of the Power family and their friends from many different perspectives: there is Mayes, Rita's husband, and Belly Man, an associate of Grim's, in addition to Grim and Rita themselves. Holman writes in spare, elegant prose that makes Luminous Mysteries a pleasure to read for anyone as interested in craft as in content.

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