Fenixbird SandS's Reviews > Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All

Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All by Allan Gurganus
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's review
Aug 03, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: history, deep-south, civil-war, awards-best-1st-novel, currently-reading
I own a copy

Quoting excerpts from this extraordinary book: "11 days after the fire comes the afternoon of leaving. Children make extra-secret jaunts to the woods. Like going to a zoo, or visiting some charming friend in jail. How strange the furnishings look resting out here, half under tarps. The Brookside glade makes treasures seem more valuable and perfect. A test for beautiful furniture: Does it still look beautiful in a beautiful woods?"

Gurganus' descriptions are vivid, almost liquid! You can breathe the same air as his humbled or tortured characters. Always had a fixation almost for Civil War history. This is my second novel on the subject I have ever read, however. When I don't know an author I just like to open a book I haven't yet read to some point & start reading there--to hear the writer's voice. That's why I shared the above amazing excerpt; these are the spoken speech of slaves only just being freed...

"Children coax canvas aside. They bounce on upholstery. Inlaid drawers they fill with pinecones. For kids, it all seems some ghosty tea party they've finally been invited to. A red velvet footstool rests beside an even greener velvet moss. Evidence has hung 60 apple-green Spode teacups by their handles from one thorn tree's briars. Honey a breeze convenes a banquet of clinking. Doubled Oriental rugs fly from boughs, patterned bold as flags from Africa.

The coveted ham now soaked, cooked, prepared has now disappeared from out the smokehouse. "Bet It got it," Zelia nodded towards a silent one. "And don't play dumb with me, you. I onto your tricks!..." Excerpt p. 347.

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Reading Progress

08/04/2010 page 37
08/09/2010 page 128
15.0% "Interesting writing style. Some subjects covered are quite intimate from an extremely niave character...All vivid. "The choicest bell in town was the rich Episcopaleans'. A masterpiece it was big as 2 wheelbarrows joined like famous hands in prayer...""
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