The Affair at Honey Hill

Berry Fleming, Author
Berry Fleming, Author Permanent Press (NY) $24 (96p) ISBN 978-0-932966-96-4
Reviewed on: 03/01/1990
Release date: 03/01/1990
Fleming self-published this short novel in 1981, selling about 100 copies. He died this year at 90, his reputation ( Colonel Effingham's Raid ) again on the rise. This wintry tale, filled with wonderful stream-of-consciousness impressions, is set in December, 1864, and follows middle-aged, Confederate enlisted-man Edwin Daws as he is wounded, taken prisoner and wearily reflects on an old love. The war has brought Daws back to Honey Hill Plantation, where, 18 years earlier, he had loved Julia, daughter-in-law of his employer. At the time, Julia's husband was fighting in the Mexican War, and Daws may be father to her second son. Daws finally sees and speaks with Julia in nearby Savannah, as Sherman continues his savage march, but the denouement is not what he expects. Daws and the reader are jolted, shockingly and effectively. There's no happy ending here, for anyone, but Fleming's kaleidescopic texture--the slant of sunlight, the clinging to antebellum gentility--will enchant readers right through the bittersweet finale. (Mar.)
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