The Blue Orchard

Jackson Taylor, Author . Touchstone $14.99 (393p) ISBN 978-1-4165-9294-5

In what could be a modern classic, poet and fiction writer Taylor takes an unblinking look at abortion in America many decades before Roe v. Wade . Introducing Verna Crone as she's arrested in her home in 1954, Taylor then transports readers to her poor Pennsylvania beginnings, yanked out of school as a teenager to help support her family. Raped by her first employer, Verna soon undergoes an abortion, illegally administered by a country midwife. After another pregnancy leaves her with a son, Verna enlists her mom's help and returns to the city to become a nurse; before long, Verna begins working for Dr. Crampton, a well-to-do African-American doctor who performs illegal abortions. Conflicted at first, Verna quickly grows accustomed to the money and finds herself less upset with every procedure; it's only after Crampton runs afoul of some state politicos that the two are arrested. In this powerful, vivid debut novel, Taylor parses issues of race, power, and religion in unflinching terms while believably inhabiting the mind of a conflicted woman. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 11/30/2009
Release date: 01/01/2010
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 393 pages - 978-1-4391-8668-8
Open Ebook - 384 pages - 978-1-4165-9684-4
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