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Spelling Mississippi

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  92 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
From an acclaimed short-story writer, a blazingly intelligent and humorous debut novel that is set in New Orleans and tells the story of two strangers whose paths first cross on the remarkable banks of the Mississippi.

Cleo, a Canadian on holiday in New Orleans, is sitting alone in the French Quarter late one night, dreamily watching the river’s lazy progress. Suddenly, a w
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published March 12th 2002 by Knopf Canada (first published January 1st 2002)
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Jan 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: recommended
Read a few years ago but recall that I really enjoyed it - a lot! I have since purchased my own copy, and plan to reread -- when, well, that's a tough one.

Highly recommend reading, and would gladly loan to friends!
This is a first novel that could have benefited from some skillfull editing, and even more if it could have made up its mind what it needed to be. Let out into the world too soon, perhaps, this wobbly, unweildly narrative attempts to cater to all tastes,and the omniscient narrator not only has access to the thoughts of the protagonists but also anyone the author favors with brief forays into the psyches of random characters in abrupt and distracting flashes.

The beginning is strong but the initia
May 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Without a doubt one of the best books I ever read. Re-read a few times. Convinced friends to read it. Gave it as a gift, etc. Why? Everything is good: the characters, the plot and, most importantly, the writing. Challenge to anyone who hasn't read it: read the first page and tell me if you can put it down.
Alison Cummings
Feb 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
What I enjoyed most about this book were the descriptions of New Orleans.

**Spoiler alert:** I just couldn't buy the relationship of Madeline and Chloe. Actually, it creeped me out as I thought Chloe was too young and inexperienced. And I didn't think the unselfish cold side of Madeline could suddenly revert to a caring, sensitive woman.
May 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-reviews
Spelling Mississippi, written by Marnie Woodrow, is a enchantingly written story surrounding the amazing city of New Orleans and the relationship between two dynamic women who find themselves swept up in the excitement, lust, and food that New Orleans has to offer. Cleo is a young Canadian tourist whom is looking for a new direction to take in her life. Unhappy with the life she has left back home, she realizes how much she has longed to visit the mysterious Southern city of New Orleans and sets ...more
Aug 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Spelling Mississippi is Marnie Woodrow's first novel, and it is a brilliant and entrancing book about letting go of a traumatic past and trying to conceive a future that may possibly involve love. Madeline and Cleo, the two main characters, came to New Orleans trying to escape their pasts. Starting from the accidental meeting of Cleo and Madeline in the beginning of the book, we follow both protagonists separately as the narrative shifts between each woman, showing us why they've avoid dealing w ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elaine Burnes
Nov 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lesbian
This was terrific. A quiet, slow story set in New Orleans, so that kind of matches the pace. Cleo is on vacation from Toronto. Madeline lives in the city with her husband. The lives of these two women, and their pasts, their connections to their mothers, have been running separate courses but are fated to merge. Sort of like a braided stream—more so than the mighty Mississippi of the title. All these parts are connected yet separated. Then they come together. The writing is first rate. And for w ...more
Marnie Woodrow’s 2002 novel Spelling Mississippi begins with an extraordinary event: Cleo, a Canadian in her late twenties visiting New Orleans, witnesses a striking older woman jump headfirst into Mississippi river in the middle of the night, wearing full evening dress including a tiara and high heels. Cleo, assuming the dive is a suicide, is momentarily stunned and then runs panicked from the scene. This initial encounter between Cleo, a traveller in search of meaning and belonging, and Madeli ...more
Spaka Eon
Mar 10, 2011 rated it it was ok
May be it's my fault that I found this book ok, and not more. Because I didn't have enough time to read it and for the first half of the book I found the story slow... but I really liked the descriptions of New Orleans :) It's on my place to visit for long time because of music, food, and now I kind of feel like I had a preview of it! So I am still very happy that I read this book.
Katy Daily
Oct 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
I got this book off the $1 shelf in Powell's (great finds sometimes - will miss it and Cameron's $.33 books dearly) so maybe I wasn't expecting much. The story drew me in and went into a different direction than I had first thought it would. Overall I guess I'm giving it 4 stars for the price for performance - it probably deserves more of a 3.5 stars rating :-)
Caroline Gerardo
Oct 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What connects us? A violent moment, witness a woman taking her own life. Then salvation and the story unfolds. It is a love story. Intertwined with the endless flow of the river. I ordered her new book at my local bookstore and convinced them to buy a couple
Apr 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book !! The characters are still with me, although I read it about a year ago. It's one of the books that pull you in, you live their lives along with them, and you'll never forget them. Although I've never been to this part of the South, I feel like I have now. Great book.
Slow moving book with interesting characters. Can appreciate and understand the family the dynamics.
Jul 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Very well written and characters are quirky, believable, and very well developed.
Apr 12, 2010 added it
I don't remember a whole about this book. It does a pretty neat picture of New Orleans and the characters that live there.
Mar 29, 2007 rated it liked it
Loved the descriptions of New Orleans and of those who frequent the region.
Sep 12, 2009 rated it liked it
There is a good story here, but the book is way too long!
Jan 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: toreread, queer
Certainly *very* strong, but I remember being disappointed, if only because I like to believe that Woodrow hung the moon. I'll reread soon.
Allyson Scott
rated it really liked it
Nov 17, 2014
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May 21, 2014
Mandy Chapman
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Oct 18, 2013
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Jan 07, 2013
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Nov 20, 2011
rated it really liked it
Jan 20, 2017
rated it it was amazing
Aug 09, 2016
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Jan 16, 2008
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Nov 28, 2010
Lynn Bailey
rated it it was amazing
Jan 06, 2013
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