Posts Tagged ‘Fannie Flagg’

Last Bus to Coffeeville – J. Paul Henderson

Posted in Contemporary Fiction on April 20th, 2014 by admin – 1 Comment

Last Bus to Coffeeville

Published
23/04/2014

Publisher
No Exit Press

Source
www.realreaders.com

My Rating

Rating: ★★★★☆

Nancy Skidmore has a plan and she needs Doc Eugene Chaney to fulfil his side of the bargain if she is to achieve her goal – to be free of the relentless Alzheimers Disease which has plagued several generations of her family.  Doesn’t sound like a bundle of laughs, does it?  Somehow J. Paul Henderson manages to wrap the narrative of his debut novel with a cosy, heartwarming vibe which makes for an enjoyable and engaging read.  Fans of existentialism and angst should turn away now.

The small, unimposing town of  Coffeeville, Mississippi is Nancy’s final destination, the location of a wooden lodge owned by her family.  However her journey there is far from straightforward as it involves many diversions, both historical and geographical, as well as a large cast of varied and somewhat eccentric characters.  I can see how the meandering narrative might irritate some readers but I loved it : relaxing into it was like floating on a lazy river absorbing bits of trivia en route.  The style is reminiscent of Forest Gump and Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe with that laid-back, warm and inviting southern voice.  Indeed I could see this transferring very easily to the big screen.

It’s by no means a perfect book with some sections of dialogue a bit on the clunky, heavy-handed side but it is a very promising debut.  Not bad at all for a former foundry worker from Bradford, West Yorkshire.  ;-)

 

 

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The Homecoming of Samuel Lake – Jenny Wingfield

Posted in American Fiction on June 26th, 2011 by admin – 2 Comments

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake is the debut novel of Jenny Wingfield, an accomplished screenwriter, and it is evident from the very first pages that she is a very talented writer and storyteller.

Set in the 1950s in Arkansas in the deep South of the US, our story begins with the sudden death of John Moses and ends with another death with a good sprinkling of violent episodes in between.  Samuel Lake is a preacher without a congregation, his unique style not making him a favourite amongst traditional pastors, so he and his family return to the homestead of his wife, Willadee (nee Moses) hoping to start afresh.   What ensues is an intriguing tale of a family in a state of flux and it isn’t until the final page that the reader discovers if Samuel’s unswerving faith in God is indeed well placed.

I really enjoyed this family saga with its fast paced narrative and its varied canvas of characters.  Most of the characters have rather bizarre names including Swan Lake, Samuel’s feisty 12 year old daughter, his sons, Noble and Bienville, brother-in-law Toy (6 foot 4!), sister-in-law Nicey and neighbour’s children, Blade and Blue.   Amidst the tragedy of every day life there is bitter sweet comedy – the Moses house has a grocery store at the front porch, open from dawn to dusk and a bar at the back open from dusk to dawn.  You get a real feel for this quirky, rural setting where folk might not exactly break the law but they can certainly bend it!  If you enjoy novels from Fannie Flagg or Sue Monk Kidd you’ll feel right at home with Samuel Lake.

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