Leaving Cold Sassy: The Unfinished Sequel to Cold Sassy Tree

Olive Ann Burns, Author, Katrina Kenison, Photographer Ticknor & Fields $21 (290p) ISBN 978-0-89919-908-5
As she battled cancer, Burns (1924-1990) completed 14 chapters of a sequel to her 1984 bestseller Cold Sassy Tree , leaving behind at her death part of a 15th chapter and notes on how she intended to develop the novel's characters and plot. This new visit to the fictional town of Cold Sassy, Ga., features the original novel's protagonist, Will Tweedy, now 25 and too dang skinny to fight in WW I. Encouraged by local matchmakers, Will nervously courts schoolteacher Sanna Klein. Although the completed chapters do not cover their marriage, the births of their four kids or their hardships, these events are foreshadowed; in fact, most of the characters are based on Burns's immediate family and the story draws on their experiences. While it's tempting to relax and enjoy the outrageous southern situations, humor and attitudes here, the knowledge that the narrative will abruptly end (leaving conflicts sadly unresolved) dictates a cautious approach. Readers should prepare for an interrupted work-in-process, an uneasy sense of a writer's voice about to be stilled. Kenison, Burns's editor and friend, has packaged this second book respectfully and affectionately, adding an overlong, eulogistic portrait in which she limns the author's creative growth and painful but productive final years. Photos not seen by PW. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
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