Molly Flanagan and the Holy Ghost

Margaret Skinner, Author
Margaret Skinner, Author Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill $17.95 (242p) ISBN 978-1-56512-026-6
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-1-935708-48-3
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Like Skinner's debut, Old Jim Canaan, the action of this beautifully written-albeit languidly paced-second novel takes place in her hometown of Memphis, Tenn. Molly Flanagan, now almost 12 now in the mid-1950s, is afflicted with double vision and a lack of self-confidence. She also finds herself the center of a religious tug-of-war between her staunch Catholic godmother, Byrd, and God-fearing Baptist grandmother, Willie, each of whom is determined to pull the child over to her side. But Molly, though sympathetic to their beliefs, has put her faith in the Holy Ghost, whom she credits with, among other things, answering her prayers about a piano. Surrounded by a loving, eccentric family (a Latin-quoting father, a pigeon-hating mother and a secretive 15-year-old brother) and an intriguing group of neighbors, Molly quietly observes the dailiness of their lives as she faces her own impending dramas-a possible eye operation, a dreaded piano recital. Although this affecting novel takes its time arriving at its particularly poignant climax, Skinner's rich, lyrical prose and fresh insights into human relationships make the wait well worthwhile. (Mar.)
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