Thursday, July 18, 2013

Off The Shelf: Summer Reading and The Lost Saints Of Tennessee

Taken Sunday, July 7th, at our wee lakeside home.

I always have such good intentions and big plans when it comes to my "Summer reading."  But, who am I kidding anymore?!  I take forever to find a book that I enjoy reading and still take more forever to finish reading it.  Not the case with the novel featured in this addition of Off The Shelf, which has been on my radar (aka to-read list) for a while now and is this month's Southern Lit Lovers group read & chat selection.

The Lost Saints of Tennessee by Amy Franklin-Willis
My (goodreads) rating: 5 of 5 stars

From the Atlantic Monthly Press 2012 hardback edition:  (Spoilers Possible -->)
"With enormous heart and dazzling agility, debut novelist Amy Franklin-Wills expertly mines the fault lines in one Southern working-class family. Driven by the soulful and intrepid voices of forty-two-year-old Ezekiel Cooper and his mother, Lillian, The Lost Saints Of Tennessee journeys from the 1940s to the 1980s as it follows Zeke's evolution from anointed son to honorable sibling to unhinged middle-aged man.

After Zeke loses his twin brother in a mysterious drowning and his wife to divorce, only ghosts remain in his hometown of Clayton, Tennessee. Zeke makes the decision to leave Clayton in a final attempt to escape his pain, puts his two treasured possessions - a childhood copy of The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn and Tucker, his dead brother's ancient dog - into his truck and heads east. He leaves behind his two adolescent daughters and his estranged mother, who reveals her own conflicting view of the cooper family story in a vulnerable but spirited voice stricken by guilt over old sins as she slings to the hope that her family isn't beyond repair.

When Zeke finds refuge with his sympathetic cousins in Virginia horse country, divine acts in the form of severe weather, illness, and a new romance collide, leading Zeke to a cross-roads where he must decide the fate of his family - either by clinging to the way life was or moving toward what life might be.

Written with abundant charm, warmth, and authority, The Lost Saints Of Tennessee is the story of a unique brotherhood and a moving consideration of the ways grief can first devastate and then restore."

I finished reading this on July 11th and seven days later, I'm still trying to gather my thoughts on this wonderful novel into something cohesive and that which resembles a review!  Y'all know I'm not the best with reviews anyhow.  My reviews are more of my reaction to a book than a review.

In a nutshell: I love it. I simply loved it.
In a word: Transportive.
And that's what I love most about writing/reading in general.

Amy's writing captured my interest right from the get-go and transported me into the world of her novel, where, despite loneliness, grief and guilt, (all of which I can relate to) there is also hope. I couldn't put it down and when I did, I couldn't wait to get back to it. As soon as I finished reading it, I wanted to go right back to the beginning and start reading again.  In fact, I loved it so much I've ordered the paperback edition as this hardback copy was from the library!

Whether or not you're a fan of Southern Lit, I highly recommend The Lost Saints Of Tennessee.

A perfect Summer read!

For author Amy's site, click here. (Spoilers Possible)

What are you reading this Summer? Share with me in the comments section below!

View all goodreads my reviews

1 comment:

Jo said...

July 19, 2013:
@amyfranklinwill
@BloominChick Thanks, Jo!I'm so glad you enjoyed the Cooper clan. Off this next week to finish new book which continues Honora's story :)