She Flew the COOP: A Novel Concerning Life, Death, Sex, and Recipes in Limoges, Louisiana

Michael Lee West, Author HarperCollins Publishers $22 (390p) ISBN 978-0-06-018348-6
When 16-year-old Olive Nepper eschews Jesus and drinks a Nehi laced with rose poison, it is with good reason: she is carrying the child of Baptist minister T. C. Kirby, a man of stolen identity who once didn't know ``Jesus from a Junebug.'' As Olive lingers in a two-month coma, and radios spew updates on Korea, polio and the Rosenberg trial, the town of Limoges, La., flutters with private dramas and the ensuing public whispers. Olive's frowzy mother, Vangie, whose expertise lies in canning, recipe reduction and horticulture, is protected by all but the most vicious gossipmonger from learning of Olive's pregnancy and the affair between her husband, pharmacist Henry, and his countergirl, Dee Dee Robichaux. The story is told with perfect pitch by many voices, including those of transplanted New York artist Edith Galliard, widow-magnet funeral director Cab Beaulieu, and long-suffering black housekeeper Sophie Donnell. As Vangie waits for Olive to waken and Henry to come home, nearly everyone is getting his or her just deserts, and business is brisk for Beaulieu. Vangie's final self-redemption is but part of a feel-good tie-up of small-town life threads. The author of the acclaimed Crazy Ladies has captured the color, eccentricities and tragicomedy that the best Southern writers do so well. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/02/1994
Release date: 05/01/1994
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