cover image Lucinderella


Berry Fleming. Permanent Press (NY), $24 (192pp) ISBN 978-0-933256-70-5

Third in a series of Fleming novels being reissued in quick succession, this comic gem is narrated by Clamp Spignor, member of an extended, eccentric family who live at Telfair, the ancestral home in Fredericksburg, Ga. Cousin Lucinda is returning home from New York after two bestselling novels and a Broadway smashall based on her quirky kinto get back to ""reality.'' Clamp, and practically everybody else, are baffled by reality, even occasionally offended by it. Nobody, for example, speaks of Mrs. Mooneyham, aka ``Madam Ace,'' another ``cousin'' who rents her ancestral ``home'' and who spends her time railing against modern permissiveness: ``How are you going to charge for something . . . when everybody is trying their best to give it away for nothing?'' Then there is one-armed hotelier Uncle Otis, who tends to hire a lot of one-armed help. Fleming's twitting of Southern folkways is sharp but affectionate. Except for a bungled bank robbery, nothing much happens here and even when Clamp falls in love with Lucindaor thinks he doesthe situation goes awry. But Fleming's keen eye and rich characterization in this novel (a BOMC selection in the author's heyday) will remind readers of Eudora Welty. (April)