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A Reader of Fictions: Faded from the Winter - Iron & Wine

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Faded from the Winter - Iron & Wine

Glow

Author: Jessica Maria Tuccelli
Pages: 320
Review Copy Acquired from: Viking

Summary from Goodreads:

A breathtaking Georgia-mountain epic about the complex bond of mothers and daughters across a century.
In the autumn of 1941, Amelia J. McGee, a young woman of Cherokee and Scotch-Irish descent, and an outspoken pamphleteer for the NAACP, hastily sends her daughter, Ella, alone on a bus home to Georgia in the middle of the night-a desperate action that is met with dire consequences when the child encounters two drifters and is left for dead on the side of the road.
Ella awakens to find herself in the homestead of Willie Mae Cotton, a wise hoodoo practitioner and former slave, and her partner, Mary-Mary Freeborn, tucked deep in the Takatoka forest. As Ella begins to heal, the legacies of her lineage are revealed.
"Glow" transports us from Washington, D.C., on the brink of World War II to 1836 and into the mountain coves of Hopewell County, Georgia, full of ghosts both real and imagined. Illuminating the tragedy of human frailty, the power of friendship and hope, and the fiercest of all human bonds-mother love-this stunning debut will appeal to readers of both Sue Monk Kidd's "The Secret Life of Bees" and Amy Green's "Bloodroot."
Review:
Ordinarily, I write my own summaries of books, but try as I might, I could not manage to sum Glow up in a paragraph. This novel, though not especially long, is dense and complex. There hardly is a plot, but a whole lot happens. Nothing is stated explicitly; it's left to the reader to suss out the meaning.

Glow
did not especially grab me, but, despite that, I can still appreciate the artistry of the book. Jessica Maria Tuccelli displays evident talent both in the unique construction of a narrative and in the writing of disparate characters.

Tuccelli tells the story using multiple points of view, a very effective narrative style, but a very dangerous one as well. Only authors talented enough to write easily distinguishable characters by voice alone can pull it off. Tuccelli does so with ease. Each of the assortment of characters that narrate their perspective have very particular methods of speaking that clearly distinguish them. Most all of them speak in their own particular dialect, all quite distinct even though they all live in the same small town. One character's brief section seems more like poetry than prose, and, though unclear, conveys perfectly the confusion and tragedy of a little girl's death.

In Glow, Tuccelli tackles a number of serious issues, most importantly that of racism. The characters in the story come from an array of backgrounds, but are mostly black and Indian (as in Native American). The story spans all the way from before the Civil War era to 1941, from the era of slavery to the fight for civil rights.

When I first started reading Glow, I tried to read it like I do most books, quickly, devouring. This was, I realized later, a mistake. By reading so fast, I became confused about some of the action and the relationships between moments. When I began reading more slowly, giving myself more time to mull over what was going on and to really savor Tuccelli's talent, my joy of the book most certainly increased.

If you like beautifully-written historical fiction that will really make you think, try Glow.

Rating: 3.5/5

"Daddy's ghost behind you
Sleeping dog beside you
You're a poem of mystery
You're the prayer inside me"

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