Accidentally Still in Mississippi

pulitzerOk, so I picked my G author book because although it is not on the 1001 list, it is a Pulitzer winner and Wikipedia said it was set in Alabama, so it was going to help with my Around the US challenge. Well I can report that the book (I did the audio and liked the narrator Anna Fields) was excellent, but that quite close to the end, after listening to clues for location and having pretty much relaxed and concluded that the book was, in fact, set in Alabama rather than in Mississippi (as one Goodreads reviewer said) I reached the place where the character told a lawyer to tell her husband to “go to Alabama to get a divorce.” I rewound. Yup. That was what it said. I tried not to go all John McEnroe (“Are you KIDDING me?!?). Good thing I liked the book. I did go to Wikipedia to fix the entry. It has to be Mississippi since there are references to Louisiana and Alabama that indicate it isn’t those. GRRR. But like I said, it WAS a good book. And the sentences WERE short (compared to Faulkner, at least). And the author’s name DOES still start with G, so that helps some with my goals for the year. Here is what I said in my Goodreads review:

The Keepers of the HouseThe Keepers of the House by Shirley Ann Grau
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

November evenings are quiet and still and dry. The frost-stripped trees and the bleached grasses glisten and shine in the small light. In the winter-emptied fields granite outcroppings gleam white and stark. The bones of the earth, old people call them. In the deepest fold of the land–to the southwest where the sun went down solid and red not long ago–the Providence river reflects a little grey light. The river is small this time of year, drought-shrunken. It turns back the sky, dully, like an old mirror.
As I stand there in the immaculate evening I do not find it strange to be fighting an entire town, a whole county. I am alone, yes, of course I am, but I am not particularly afraid. The house was empty and lonely before–I just did not realize it–it’s no worse now. I know that I shall hurt as much as I have been hurt. I shall destroy as much as I have lost.

It’s a way to live, you know. It’s a way to keep your heart ticking under the sheltering arches of your ribs. And that’s enough for now.

These are the first and last paragraphs of the brief first section of Chapter 1 of The Keepers of the House, a wonderful tale of several generations of a Southern family. It is a delicious slice of Southern culture and of the painful effects of sex-roles and racial conflicts on the lives of the family’s members. The characters are strong and interesting and well-rounded. The prose is clear and evocative of the Southern climate and landscape. If you want a taste of Mississippi across generations and don’t want to do the hard work of reading Faulkner, this one will give you an easier, but in many ways similar, experience. This one earned its Pulitzer.

View all my reviews

And here is the progress report:

Around the World (goal: 52 total including at least 6 in each of 6 different regions) 8
Asia/Mideast: 2 (Israel, China)
Africa: 1 (Madagascar)
Europe: 2 (England/UK, Monaco)
Caribbean/Central America/North America: 2 (US, Cuba)
South America:
Extra: 1 (Scotland)

Around the US (goal: 50 states, DC, and PR): 4 (CA, MS, NY, RI) GRRRRRRRR!

1001 Books (goal 52): 5

A to Z challenge (must be completed in order–26 author last names A to Z then 26 titles A to Z–strategy is all!): 7
Authors: Auster, Beinart, Chandler, Donovan, Eugenides, Faulkner, Grau


About Beth Parks Aronson

I am Associate Professor of Psychology at Lamar University. Previously, I was a psychologist in private practice in Jenkintown, PA where I specialized in anxiety disorders and working with people living with chronic and life-threatening illnesses. I am a little addicted to good literature. Ok, a lot addicted.
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2 Responses to Accidentally Still in Mississippi

  1. vanbraman says:

    I really liked this Pulitzer winner. Even though you didn’t get your Alabama, I am sure that you were glad that you read it :-).

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