The Second Coming of Curly Red

Jody Seay, Author Firebrand Books $26.95 (272p) ISBN 978-1-56341-115-1
In this remarkably confident debut novel of heartache and redemption, Seay addresses the timely issue of hate crimes. Written with a firm command of vernacular speech and down-home metaphors, the narrative holds attention with charmingly quirky characters and a good sense of place. When a virulently racist, misogynist gunman shouting, ""All women are vipers!"" kills septuagenarian Texan Jimmy Heron's beloved wife of 50 years, desolate Jimmy takes to the highway, hoping for a new life beyond grief and pain. Eventually, he lands in Reliance, Ore., where he is befriended by, among others, a lesbian couple who are eagerly awaiting the birth of their first child. All is not bliss in Reliance, however, where gay residents are subjected to increasingly horrifying acts of harassment and the local church is headed by the nefarious Rev. Darryl Dimmer, a fire-and-brimstone preacher who aspires to become a televangelist and to rid the world of homosexuality. As neighbors and friends turn against each other, and religious beliefs are tested and reconsidered, Reliance moves toward a passionate, galvanizing climax. Boldly taking on the Christian Right and considering issues of free speech, hate crimes and equal rights for gays, Seay demonstrates the connections between violent bigotries of all kinds. Her message of empowerment and hope for change is a call for tolerance, mixed with a pragmatic understanding of how persistent the politics of hate can be. Characters plow through emotional, intellectual and biblical arguments to discover that freedom to live and love are basic human rights, and that the journey is by turns high-spirited and painful. Agent, Sheree Bykofsky. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 02/28/2000
Release date: 03/01/2000
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-1-56341-114-4
Paperback - 374 pages - 978-1-938282-10-2
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