Zions Cause, 1920-1950

Jim Peyton, Author Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill $14.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-912697-54-3
Set in the corn fields and on the porch of a general store in a backwater Kentucky hamlet, this lyrical first novel describes an unexpected world of poetry and heroism. In a series of vignettes that loosely document the folk history of the town of Zions Cause during the three decades following 1920, the commonplace is inextricably entwined with the epic and miraculous. Although hard work and frustration cloud the unchanging days of these old-fashioned farmers, their thoughts range boundlessly over unique inner landscapes. The community's mythic lore centers around the rare occasions when these primordial yearnings are released. Thus it is told that one man pitted himself against an enormous fish; another battled with an angel; primly repressed sexual energy was mistakenly unleashed by an herbal remedy; a railroad was stolen by a thrifty businessman dreaming of empire; and a premature death was marked in the church cemetery by a pagan centaur sculpted in stone. The cadence of Peyton's prose is strikingly attuned to his subject, rising and falling hypnotically like the text of a hymn or a church sermon drawn from scripture. (September 1)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1987
Release date: 09/01/1987
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