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Karen Osborn, Author
Karen Osborn. West Virginia Univ./Vandalia (CDC, dist.), $16.99 trade paper (248p) ISBN 978-1-935978-64-0
Reviewed on: 08/13/2012
Release date: 10/01/2012
Portable Document Format (PDF) - 257 pages - 978-1-935978-66-4
Book - 1 pages - 978-1-935978-65-7
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Osborn’s powerful novel, set during the dog days of summer in a small Midwestern town in 1967, begins with a bang when a man bombs the drugstore employing his estranged wife. The tragedy devastates a community just beginning to feel the repercussions of the escalating Vietnam War and the growing civil rights movement, and Osborn focuses on four individuals to map the intersections of local drama and a world in upheaval. Already troubled by decisions confronting members of his flock, a minister falls from grace when the presumed dead bomber surreptitiously seeks his counsel. The minister’s own daughter narrowly escaped the bombing, a coincidence that leaves her confused and ignites her adolescent anger and angst, framing her as a compelling window into the ’60s youth movement. The druggist’s widow quells her grief with an act of redemptive creation, and a policeman desperately hunts the bomber, all the while struggling to train the force’s first black officer amid an atmosphere of casual racism. Osborn (Patchwork), employing a restrained ruthlessness, maintains the tension throughout, and appropriately refuses easy outs for a satisfying conclusion. (Oct.)
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