By Steve Yarbrough
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780375725777, 288pp.)
Publication Date: August 13, 2002
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In 1902, in a small community deep in the Mississippi Delta, nearly a generation after the end of slavery, events obscured by time but impossible to forgive or forget echo in the lives of blacks and whites alike. As bound together by history as they are separated by mutual distrust, the citizens of Loring face present tensions as they look toward an uncertain future.
Into this charged atmosphere rides Tandy Payne–prodigal son of a prominent planter and brother of the current mayor, and a dissolute gambler looking to reclaim the family estate. When he takes advantage of a perceived slight from the town’s black postmistress, the ensuing clash with his principled brother results in a harrowing confrontation. Fueled by dark and brutal memories, their familial dispute quickly spreads through the countryside. Steve Yarbrough confronts character with morality, reason with blood, in this moving novel that explores the farthest boundaries of human nature.
Steve Yarbrough is the author of three collections of stories and a novel, The Oxygen Man, which received the Mississippi Authors’ Award, the California Book Award and a third from the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters. A native of the Delta town of Indianola, he now lives in Fresno, California.
“A powerful tale . . . a skillful interweaving of complicated relationships to family and history.” –The Washington Post Book World
“A compelling look at moral courage. . . . The place, events, and emotions are so authentic, it’s hard to believe the story is fiction.” –USA Today
“Invites comparison with Faulkner’s greatest novels.” –The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Perceptive, finely wrought . . . captures post-Reconstruction Mississippi, caught between the promise of progress and a lament for the antebellum order.” –Vogue