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So Far Back: A Novel
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So Far Back: A Novel

3.39  ·  Rating Details  ·  80 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
Sixty-year-old Louisa Hilliard--the last descendent of one of Charleston's oldest and most prominent families -- is caring for her ailing mother. An upright, unmarried spinster, Louisa has spent her life looking after others. In the aftermath of a hurricane that turns her life upside down, she finds a battered diary kept by one of her ancestors. The journal recounts the st ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published October 6th 2000 by Picador (first published 2000)
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(showing 1-29 of 146)
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Apr 21, 2009 Ruth rated it really liked it
Shelves: southern
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Anne Slater
Dec 19, 2015 Anne Slater rated it it was amazing
I read Durban's short story "Soon", which is probably one of the best I've ever read: construction, characters, pace, story line. That in mind, I took some trouble to find "So Far Back" which had been praised in the critical articles I read about Durban's short stories.

I was not disappointed. Despite all the negative comments I've seen here, which were a surprise, I was sucked right in, and ended up (I don't recommend this) reading the whole book in one day (no, I didn't do anything else-- excep
Marti Wade
Nov 22, 2015 Marti Wade rated it liked it
Well written, full of insights about history, character, and culture, but a surprising number of storylines and personalities... some readers seem to object to it on that front.
Feb 05, 2012 Sherese rated it did not like it
One Word - Huh? This novel is nonsensical and waste of paper. Storylines you think are important mean absolutely nothing in the end, Mamie and her relationship with the protagonist Louisa's mother, Mamie's fear of crossing bridge into town, Diana's resolve to be more than just a slave and her disappearance and the lack of personal growth from Louisa in her beliefs regarding race and race relations etc. The author introduces so much material and so many characters but explains nothing in the end. ...more
Diane Wachter
Mar 01, 2016 Diane Wachter rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
So Far Back, Pam Durban, HB-B, @ 2000, 11/00. A rambling story of two families, one while, one black in Charleston, SC, in the present day, and in the 1800's, masters and slaves. Not impressed!
Jul 06, 2010 Kim rated it it was ok
The lives of the Hilliards, a Charleston family, and the family of the slaves they owned is told by the last living member of the Hilliard family. It was a quick read, but I never really felt connected to any of the characters. The middle of the book was the most readable, particularly the vignettes about Diana, the most spirited of the slaves, and whose ghost lingers in the Hilliard home. The latter quarter of the book was disappointing - it felt as there might be a more emotional or satisfying ...more
J. Torbert
Jan 25, 2016 J. Torbert rated it it was amazing
Illuminating, informative and confronting. Loved it!
Bruce Fieggen
Feb 13, 2015 Bruce Fieggen rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Anyone needing a rest
Recommended to Bruce by: Kathy Fieggen
What a yawn-fest
Sarah Posey
Dec 25, 2009 Sarah Posey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book gives amazing insight into the thoughts and minds of people during the time of slavery and beyond.

At first it was a little difficult for me to keep up with the characters because it goes back and forth between generations, but I eventually got into the swing of the writing. It was amazing. Definitely makes me want to visit Charleston sometime soon!
Mary Stephens
Aug 25, 2008 Mary Stephens rated it really liked it
This book is set in Charleston in the present. The main character lives in a house that has passed down through
her family. She finds a diary that tells about life there
in the 1830s.
Apr 13, 2010 Jodi rated it it was ok
Not at all what I thought it was going to be about. Well written but very difficult to follow the many different character names, and not quite as exciting as I was expecting.
Kitty Tomlinson
Jan 02, 2009 Kitty Tomlinson rated it it was amazing
Story of one of Charleston's oldest families, the Hilliards. Travels back in time to pre-Civil War. Good view of history of slavery. Makes you think.
Melissa Cummings
Sep 23, 2010 Melissa Cummings rated it did not like it
stuck with this for 120 pages because I was convinced it would be good. Maybe one day when I'm bored i will go back.
Ali marked it as to-read
Jul 26, 2016
Wmmoorejr rated it it was amazing
May 06, 2016
Mary Tortotello
Mary Tortotello rated it really liked it
Apr 28, 2016
Karen Vessels
Karen Vessels marked it as to-read
Mar 19, 2016
Teresa Pontarollo
Teresa Pontarollo rated it liked it
Feb 07, 2016
Brittany Harrington
Brittany Harrington marked it as to-read
Jan 27, 2016
Keith Burnette
Keith Burnette rated it it was amazing
Jan 27, 2016
Linda added it
Jan 18, 2016
Penny Rich
Penny Rich rated it really liked it
Dec 26, 2015
Judi Jetson
Judi Jetson marked it as to-read
Sep 05, 2015
Joanne O'Sullivan
Joanne O'Sullivan rated it it was amazing
Aug 29, 2015
Carmen Slaughter
Carmen Slaughter marked it as to-read
Aug 28, 2015
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from the back of the book All Set About with Fever Trees
Pam Durban grew up in South Carolina. She has worked as a journalist and teacher in New York, Kentucky, and Georgia. She was the 1984 recipient of the Rinehart Award in Fiction, and her work has appeared in a number of publications, including Tri-Quarterly, Crazyhorse, and The Georgia Review. The title story of this, her first book, appeared
More about Pam Durban...

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