The Keepers of Echowah

Sonny Sammons, Author, Alexa M. Selph, Editor Cherokee Publishing Company (GA) $18.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-87797-269-3
This smooth and charming first novel about twin boys growing up in Georgia in the 1940s has a lovely balance of lyrical nostalgia and gleefully coarse humor. It is narrated by Matty MacDonald in one of those distinctive Southern voices that creates color on the page. He and his brother Patty are twins whose mother died giving birth to them and whose father committed suicide shortly afterward. The boys are raised on a 15,000-acre South Georgia hunting property named Ecowah Plantation by their delightfully eccentric Uncle Charlie, who gives up his carefree bachelor life to accept the responsibility. Much of the story deals with the boys' turbulent teens, during which Matty discovers, among other things, that ``Vicks VapoRub makes no allowance for stupidity: it will definitely take the skin off the penis of a 13-year-old boy.'' He also discovers love and lust and sex, all in the person of the stunning Leighanne Carter, while Patty, the older (by eight minutes) and by far the more ornery of the two, finds trouble in all the usual places. Some of the characters (the colonel who owns Ecowah; the noble black men and women who work there) are perhaps just a bit too trite and could have been pulled from a how-to manual for writing idyllic Southern fiction, but Sammons's easy storytelling covers most of the bumps. He faithfully cuts his sweetness with tonics. Matty's sentimental voice is relieved by Patty's ribaldry, and the whole story is strung between the end of WWII and Vietnam, where the brothers lose their youthful innocence. Film rights to Media Tribe/Destiny Force Productions. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/01/1995
Release date: 05/01/1995
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