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The View from Delphi
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The View from Delphi

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  310 ratings  ·  44 reviews
Two young mothers have each lost a child, but they overcome their racial differences to bring about justice in a pre-Civil Rights Mississippi town.
Paperback, 510 pages
Published August 21st 2005 by MacAdam/Cage (first published June 1st 2004)
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Julie M
Dec 01, 2014 Julie M rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: almost anyone
Recommended to Julie by: book group
Shelves: own-this-book
One of the best books I've read in the past 5 years. 'The Help' times 10 - more complex and interesting. O'Dell blends history in with one of the best stories about families, politics, race and social relations in the Jim Crow South (MS) and the community of Delphi. I'm going to read 'The Healing' next. Jonathan O'Dell is an amazing writer, and I noticed he settled in MN.
Forget The Help--read The View from Delphi instead. I picked this up because Jonathan Odell came to speak at our church on MLK Sunday and blew my socks off with his keen, beautiful insights about growing into awareness of the racial divide, but I'm not much of a "fiction person." It's all genre fic and non-fic for me, usually. But this book was beautiful and engrossing, and I chowed through it in record time. The last general fiction novel I got sucked into so rapidly was Middlesex by Jeffrey Eu ...more
Julie Johnson
For a first novel, the author truly caught pre-Civil Rights in Mississippi in the 50's and his style of writing matches the slow, descriptive talking, the culture of small Southern towns, and horrible tenseness & terrors felt at that time. The first part reminded me of the most recently written THE HELP, but it had more depth into the problems experienced by the two ladies, one black and one white that become friends. Although I did not want the story to end, it ended in the only way that it ...more

A few people have compared this book to "The Help". And I can see why. However, the character development in "The View from Delphi" goes much deeper which makes this a solid read.
How does a gay white man write a book about the struggles of a couple of women, 1 white and 1 black, during the dawning civil rights era in Mississippi? Very well.

Read In Colour
Much longer than it needed to be. I enjoyed The Healing much more.
Too dull for 500+ pages. Made it halfway.
Overall, The View from Delphi was worth reading, as it held my attention and the second half was a page turner. Specifically, it captured the relationships and emotions that prevailed in the deep South at the dawn of the Civil Rights era, insofar as I can understand and empathize with these as a Caucasian who was a child when this upheaval was in its infancy.

That said, the first half of the book was disappointing in its minimalist mention of two key characters, whose deaths are the basis for the
Loved this story!! At the heart it is a story of two separate women (one white, one black) in rural Mississippi during the civil rights struggles (pre movement / early movement) who do end up crossing paths. From there, many stories / characters interact - there is a lot going on, and the third quarter of this book seems to drag a bit... Many character. It does all come together in the last quarter
Mary Timbes
A thoroughly engaging book about the South in the Civil Rights era. Families, black and white, interact and ignore each other and experience the changes going on about them. Author Jonathan Odell has created unforgettable, lovable characters (and believable villains) and takes the reader on a journey he or she will not forget. I really loved this book.
Mar 21, 2012 Jessica rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jessica by: Jeff Erickson
Shelves: novels
Odell just released a new book and that reminded me of how much I liked this novel about two southern women struggling with the loss of their sons. I read it years ago but I remember the ending and I also remember thinking how well Odell handled the challenge of wrapping up the story in a meaningful and emotional way.
This it the author of The Healing...which I loved. This is his first novel, and I also enjoyed it. It is very similar to The Help on a few levels. I still enjoyed The Healing more, but this was a good read. I look forward to the third publication by J. Odell, hopefully in 2013.
An incredibly long story with little growth. Beautifully written with too many words for my liking though persevered unwillingly, hence I lost interest many times. There are too many books that I'm wanting to read and often felt frustrated with the length of this one.
I wish this man would write a book more than once every eight years. His two books have moved me. His last book was compared to The Help and it should be reversed. His two books speak with clarity and research and with no maudlin retrospect. You know he lived. It.
I really enjoyed this book made all the more special after meeting the author and hearing him talk about growing up in MS. His personal perspective of growing up during the early years of the Civil Rights Movement and how racism informed his life was unique in its telling.
Susan Kosel
fantastic book. Better even than the The Help.
Bonnie Morse
This saga of women's rights, race relations, and the intertwining of complex family histories is one of the best books I've ever read. The characters are rich and deep, the local dialect is applied--with appropriate differences--to Black and white alike, and Jonathan Odell is right up there with Michael McDowell when it comes to writing awesome women. This book is an emotional rollercoaster backed with an intelligent story that keeps it from being soppy or preachy. And the mysteries are sufficie ...more
Jae Ran
I thought the writing was really lovely in places. The story was okay. Some of the characters I just plain did not care for. It had some okay ideas, but over all I just did not completely connect with the main characters. I do think some very interesting racial issues were investigated within this book but ultimately I didn't care enough about the main character to feel like it was a worth seeing her ultimate development and resolution.
finally got around to reading this very interesting study about two young women, both poor and uneducated, living in rural Mississippi during the civil rights struggles. Vida, carries a secret as she becomes the maid to Hazel in order to spy on the neighbors, snobs and politicians, who manage both their lives in some ways. It is a very readable story that contains sadness and humor.

I enjoyed this book, but was a little disappointed at the ending. It was a slow read to start. It took a while to figure out how the characters were going to connect. Some of it reminded me of The Help, but the story is more involved. I felt a range of emotions reading this book. Would recommend.
This first book is almost as good as his second, Healing. Slower start but great characters, people you'd often be proud to call friends, and scoundrels you'd like to see destroyed. A great read; hope he is a fast writer because I'm ready for the next book.
Sheryl Kowalczyk
A sad story about race relations in Mississippi in the 50's. How can people treat other people so badly? On a lighter note it said a lot about women joining together to support each other in the face of powerful and corrupt men.
Antigo Martin-Delaney
This was my second book by Jonathan Odell. I loved the first (The Healing) and this one was very good also. I look forward to other offering from this author. His prose feel nature and very "southern".

Good character development of complicated people in complicated times. A little wordy but well written enough to keep me turning the pages and not give up. Good southern, per-Civil rights story.
3 1/2 stars-Sometimes when life seems worthless and lost, the best people to console you are those who have walked in your shoes. Life is hard, lean on those who have felt your pain.
Great book. Slow start, but gives a wonderful looks at characters from all walks of life. Spiritual aspects interesting. Depth of grief with loss of child evident.
I didn't finish this book. It dragged for me. The characters seemed too predictable. I guess my heart was set on another The Healing. Ah well.
A captivating story centering around two women, one white and one black, in rural Mississippi on the cusp of the Civil Rights movement.
I love how the author weaves in three different worlds. I love historical fiction. Written very well and I recommend this book. Love it!
Deborah Fisher
A good read; characters were all well developed; very good pacing with no dragging. Definitely one I would recommend.
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Born in Mississippi, I grew up in the Jim Crow South and became involved in the civil rights movement in college. I hold a master’s degree in counseling psychology and have been active in human resource development for over 30 years, including holding the position of Vice President of Human Resources for a Minneapolis based corporation and later founding my own consulting companies.

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