South of Resurrection

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9780140241723: South of Resurrection

At the age of sixteen, Moline Bedwell fled her hometown of Resurrection, Missouri, and never looked back. Now, twenty years later, she's intent on returning to Resurrection to take care of some family business. But what started out as a short visit turns increasingly complex as Moline confronts the ghosts of her past and contends with the impact of the present on her dying hometown: she struggles to save her family's pig farm from the greedy clutches of an agriculture conglomerate, and she resumes her passionate affair with Dayrell Bell, the wild hillbilly boy she abandoned all those years ago.

Jonis Agee takes us into the hearts and minds of a community on the verge of extinction and introduces us to characters so vivid and memorable that we feel as if we've known them all our lives. In South of Resurrection, Agee's intensely beautiful writing proves yet again why The New York Times calls her a "gifted poet of that dark lushness in the heart of the American landscape."

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From Kirkus Reviews:

You can go home again, the heroine of Agee's earthy, deeply satisfying latest discovers--you just can't expect home to be easy, or life there particularly simple. Agee (Strange Angels, 1993, etc.) has always demonstrated a distinctive skill for creating complex, tough-minded, open-hearted women. In the past, though, her novels--while zesty--have sometimes felt loose, too filled with rich talk at the expense of incident. Here, the talk (wonderfully salty and vigorous without seeming archaic or forced) is in the service of a lively and convincing plot. Middle-aged Moline Bedwell, having survived a disastrous marriage and the death of several loved ones, returns home to Resurrection, Missouri, in the Ozarks, in search of sanctuary. But solace is in short supply: The wonderfully named Heart Hog corporation wants to buy up much of the land around Resurrection for development, effectively splitting the townsfolk into two warring camps--those hungry for the freedom they believe money and change will bring, and those convinced that what's best about Resurrection is its isolation. Moline also encounters Dayrell Bell, the still handsome love of her youth. She'd left Resurrection in the aftermath of an accident that left Dayrell badly injured, and a young girl dead. Dayrell, it turns out, is as charming, and seemingly as wayward, as ever. He also still seems to labor under the influence of his violent, self-destructive brother McCall, who's been recruited by Heart Hog to apply pressure to those unwilling to give up their land. Moline finds herself reluctantly drawn into the battle on the side of the preservationists, and back into Dayrell's orbit. Meanwhile, Agee gently peels away the many layers of history that accumulate when a family has lived in one place for a very long time. There's a pleasing and believable succession of secrets revealed. And Moline and Dayrell's wary courtship is among the most brambly, and original, in recent fiction. One of the best novels by anyone writing today about the old, long-settled corner of the South. (Author tour) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Fans of Agee (A 38. Special & a Lonely Heart, LJ 5/1/95) have another treat in store for them. When Moline Bedwell returns to the Ozark town of Resurrection, Missouri, after 20 years, she merely wants to sell her parents' home and find a resting place for her sister's ashes. Widowed, middle-aged, and poor, Moline looks back on her "weird" past and anticipates a lonely future. But when old issues involving guilt, family, and previous boyfriend Dayrell Bell surface, it becomes clear that we take our past with us wherever we go. Everyone's secrets are eventually revealed in a poetic prose that delineates Agee's earthy characters and brings the impoverished town to life. Recommended for public libraries.?Ellen R. Cohen, Rockville, Md.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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