From BooklistWhat a smart way for an award-winning short story writer to develop her first novel: using poignant fact to ground a flight of the imagination. Morgan, who teaches English at a Virginia community college, builds her tale around theMoreFrom BooklistWhat a smart way for an award-winning short story writer to develop her first novel: using poignant fact to ground a flight of the imagination.
Morgan, who teaches English at a Virginia community college, builds her tale around the August 1969 floods in the Appalachian foothills: when Hurricane Camilles last gasps collided with local thunderstorms, 25 inches of rain fell on Nelson County, Virginia, in five hours (a world record), leaving 114 people dead and 37 missing.
Eight flood victims--men, women, and children, aged 6 to roughly 70--were never identified. One August Day imagines what might have brought those eight to the center of the storm. A browbeaten woman grasps the damage her cruel husband is doing to their three children.
A runaway teenager tries to make a place for himself. A teacher heads for a new life with the man she loves. A prison escapee plots biblical revenge. An elderly woman in intermittent contact with reality rules the ancient mansion she hasnt left in years. A vivid and involving story. Mary Carroll --This text refers to the original publication.From Publishers WeeklyLike Marianne Wiggins (see above), Morgan has set her novel in a Virginia battered by a severe storm.
On the night of August 19, 1969, the tail-end of Hurricane Camille dumped over 25 inches of rain within five hours on Nelson County. Of the more than 100 people who died in the torrential downpour, eight still remain unidentified.
Building on these facts in her sturdy debut, short-story writer Morgan imagines the identities of those eight people, reconstructing the events of the final day of their lives. Helen Jansky impulsively decides she must take her children away from her emotionally abusive husband- elderly, delusional Charlotte is crotchety with her faithful nigra maid, Ora- ex-convict Clarence Winston alternates quoting the Bible with fantasies of baptizing women in a fashion the church would frown upon- Judy Marsh, burned once in love, prepares to leave town to be with the man of her dreams- and young Daniel Alexander looks for a haven from false criminal accusations and his domineering father.
Interweaving her characters stories in hour by hour segments, Morgan often furnishes background information at the expense of voice and atmosphere. Still, she builds suspense as the hurricane moves closer. Like Thornton Wilders classic The Bridge of San Luis Rey, the narrative carries a sense of inevitability, and the readers knowledge that a force of nature will determine the destiny of these people in its path makes the characters lives more compelling than they otherwise might have been.Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.