South of Resurrection

Jonis Agee, Et, Author Viking Books $24.95 (353p) ISBN 978-0-670-85809-5
The nuances of small-town racial and social tensions are richly illuminated in this occasionally frustrating tale of a Missouri native's return to her Ozarks home. Narrator Moline Bedwell left Resurrection when she was 16 because she knew too much about a fatal car accident. Two decades later, when she returns from Minnesota to bury her sister's ashes, Moline takes up with her old love, Dayrell Bell, who went to prison for the accident she witnessed, and immerses herself in the town's fray over family farms versus factory farms. Neither the affair's outcome nor the public decision on a sellout to Heart Hog Corporation will surprise readers, however, and we never know enough about Moline herself or the years she spent covering up her hillbilly origins and starting (and losing) a family of her own. Although she is described with Agee's customary verbal swing (""These days Walker's arms were thin enough to slice bread, and her overtanned hide hung like a cheap motel curtain over a rod of bone""), hard-drinking, hard-loving Moline never quite comes to life, so that in the end we sympathize more with the declining town itself than with the woman whose eyes we see it through. Author tour. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-0-14-024172-3
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