Copper Crown

Lane Von Herzen, Author William Morrow & Company $19 (240p) ISBN 978-0-688-10688-1
Racial turmoil spreads like wildfire across the flat, dusty surface of a Texas town in 1913 in this sometimes lyric, often fevered debut novel. At the heart of the flames stand the young white narrator, Cass Sandstrom, and her best friend, Allie Farrell, a black girl whose brother is lynched in a wave of rape, killing and burning foreseen by Cass's mother, who has ``the sight.'' Fleeing the destruction of their childhood paradise, the two friends take with them newborn Ruby, innocent daughter of Cass's cousin, a Jezebel who has died in childbirth. They carry too the glimmering spirits of their dead loved ones. Their new life fails to free them from the brooding tensions of a world in which women exist at the mercy of men and blacks at the mercy of whites. Years later, when only one of them has experienced love, an accidental murder gives them a foot up on success as restaurateurs, then further explosive violence drives a wedge of anger and suspicion between them. Von Herzen has an imaginative eye, but lets fiery portents, heavy-handed metaphors and gothic dialogue--``There's a fire, there's a fire burning high and don't anybody see it but me''--overfill her narrative. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1991
Release date: 09/01/1991
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 401 pages - 978-1-56054-370-1
Paperback - 48 pages - 978-0-452-26916-3
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