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Monday, April 18, 2016

The Writer's Life 4/18 - T-Bird

Anne Rivers Siddons has had 19 novels published. Now 80, she is a graduate of Auburn University, where she worked on the school paper until she wrote a pro-integration article, which led to her ouster. I just finished her 14th novel, Nora, Nora, which is set in 1961 in a small town in Georgia, her home state. It is told from the point of view of a 12-year-old girl whose mom died soon after giving birth. Her existence is suppressed, largely through her own doing and partly because of a distant though loving dad. Her life changes when a 30-year-old cousin, the titular character, visits and stays long. Nora, who drives a pink Thunderbird convertible, is blunt and light years ahead of the populace in terms of social change. She takes a job teaching the town's first integrated class, introducing it to books such as Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird and Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer. The former fits naturally, the latter seems a stretch, even though she asks her students to keep it a secret. She isn't so naive she wouldn't know word would reach parents. I guess Siddons would have readers assume Nora simply wouldn't care, which is possible given her personality. That aspect didn't work for me, as I wonder if TOC was ever on any secondary education list even long after it ceased to be considered porn. Anyway, that's a minor quibble. This is a fine novel filled with realistic characters and interesting confrontations. Given the year, I feared it would take a tragic route, and I was happy it didn't. Late in the book I anticipated a different sort of bombshell, and was glad I was wrong about that too. It does have a painful climax, but one within common human boundaries, not suicide or cancer. I got misty. The prose and dialogue are fine for the most part, although there were a few instances where I did not grasp what the author was saying. Unlike ...Mockingbird, which was released when the civil rights movement was in its infancy, Nora, Nora, published in 2000, lacks the immediacy of that conflict, as those issues have long been resolved. Of course, racial tensions still and probably always will exist -- such is man. 85 users at  Amazon have rated the book, forging to a consensus of 3.7 of five, which seems right on the money. There have been two adaptations of Siddons' work. Her first novel, Heartbreak Hotel, became Heart of Dixie (1989) on the silver screen, and The House Next Door (2006), a horror story Stephen King lauds, was filmed for TV. (Facts culled from Wiki)

The best recent news is the failure of the meeting of oil producers to result in a slow down of production, which would have caused a spike in the price of crude and subsequent rise in prices at the pump. Where would the American economy be without the relief the lower cost of gasoline, heating oil and natural gas have provided consumers? It has helped defray the burden of Obamacare.

There was an amusing report out of northern China about angry construction workers having a demolition derby type battle with bulldozers, but the video has vanished. I assume the government has quashed it. How disappointing, and how lucky we are to be Americans, where such a video would have received millions of hits.

My thanks to Jack of Chase, who bought two thrillers, to the lady carrying a new-born infant, who purchased a huge book on quilting, and to the young woman who bought a children's book.
Vic's Short Works:
Vic's 5th Novel:'s 4th novel:
Vic's 3rd Novel:
Vic's Short Story on Kindle:
Vic's Short Story Collection:
Vic's 2nd Novel: Kindle:
Vic's 1st Novel:

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