cover image Rules of '48

Rules of '48

Jack Cady. Night Shade Books, $14.95 (246pp) ISBN 978-1-59780-085-3

The final work from novelist Cady (1933-2004) immerses readers in Southern city life just as it emerges from the suffering and shortfalls of WWII, a chronicle of seven summer weeks in 1948 that irrevocably change a handful of ordinary Louisville, Ken. residents. Facing the local ramifications of growing issues in the world-at-large-shock over the Holocaust, the specter of impending communism, mounting unrest in black America-are successful auctioneer Wade, a white man with ""a mouth on him that could stun horseflies""; personable black day laborer Lester, a veteran of war and auctioneering; Jewish pawnbroker Lucky; and Lucky's young employee Howard, a determined black teenager. As the summer roils, rising racial tensions ensnare all the characters, leading to violence and unexpected redemption. A fittingly personal farewell (it began as a memoir), Cady's novel showcases (as in Ghosts of Yesterday and others) a skill for story-telling that rivals Mark Twain's, rich with lived-in details of the way things were.