By Bobbie Ann Mason
(Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780060925499, 464pp.)
Publication Date: August 1994
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Set in the apocalyptic atmosphere of 1900--a time when many Americans were looking for signs foretelling the end of the world--Feather Crowns is the story of a young woman who unintentionally creates a national sensation. A farm wife living near the small town of Hopewell, Kentucky, Christianna Wheeler gives birth to the first recorded set of quintuplets in North America.
Christie is suddenly thrown into a swirling storm of public attention. Thousands of strangers descend on her home, all wanting too see and touch the "miracle babies." One visitor crawls right in through the window! The fate of the babies and the bizarre events that follow their births propel Christie and her husband far from home, on a journey that exposes them to the turbulent pageant of life at the beginning of the modern era.
Richly detailed and poignant, Feather Crowns focuses on one woman but opens out ultimately into the chronicle of a time and a people. Written in Bobbie Ann Mason's taut yet lyrical prose, the novel ranges from a peaceful farming community to a fire-and-brimstone revival camp, from seamy traveling shows to the hushed precincts of the nation's capital. Moving through the center of it all is Christie, a charming, headstrong, loving woman who struggles heroically to come to terms with the extraordinary events of her long life.
Feather Crowns is an American parable of profound resonance. Spellbindingly readable, it is a novel of classic stature destined to confirm Bobbie Ann Mason as one of America's most important writers.
Bobbie Ann Mason has won the PEN/Hemingway Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the American Book Award, and the PEN/Faulkner Award. Her books include In Country and Feather Crowns. She lives in her native Kentucky.