Books by M.A. Harper

Diamonds in the Sky by M.A. Harper
Released: Jan. 25, 2014

"Deft characterization, wry humor and quiet but momentous scenes of growing affection create a deep-down satisfying novel."
Three people—a struggling artist, an unsuccessful writer and an elderly farmer—find an unexpected connection in this warmhearted novel. Read full book review >
THE YEAR OF PAST THINGS by M.A. Harper
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 1, 2005

"Harper might have had better luck by sticking to the real travails of blended family life. Her spooks often amount to simple silliness—and her menfolks' relentless macho posturing often makes one yearn for divine intervention."
In her third outing, southern writer Harper (The Worst Day of My Life, So Far, 2001, etc.) attempts an old-fashioned ghost story set in modern-day New Orleans. Read full book review >
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 30, 2001

"Sentimental but not overly so: a story of real grace and power."
Harper (For the Love of Robert E. Lee, 1992) unfolds a modern-day domestic nightmare in this account of a mother's slow submersion beneath the murky waters of Alzheimer's. The narrator, Jeanne Roth, is well into her own middle age when her mother, Velma, begins to lose her grip on reality. A Southern Belle from New Orleans, Velma is a woman of considerable charm and wit, and like all strong women she casts a long shadow across her daughter. For Jeanne, who broke up with her husband in New York just in time to move home to Louisiana and look after her increasingly helpless mother, the shadow is more than just memories of happier days gone by: it's an unavoidable account one is forced to make of life in the face of impending death. The contrast between her life and her mother's, her marriage and her parents', her children and herself—all conspire to supply Jeanne with a new image of her self and her history. Read full book review >
FOR THE LOVE OF ROBERT E. LEE by M.A. Harper
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 17, 1992

A clever and stylish first novel that manages to interweave separate narratives of the Old and New South through the visionary insight of a modern-day South Carolinian in love with Robert E. Lee. Garnet Laney suffers all the traumas one could expect to find in an adolescent girl in 1966—ambivalence toward sex, annoyance toward family, confusion over politics and the advent of adult life—with one remarkable difference: she develops an obsession with Robert E. Lee that eventually elevates into a full-scale love affair. The original impetus is a school project that leads her to discover an obscure family connection with Lee—and that jolts her imagination and transports her to the 19th century, where she learns that she has (somehow) led a prior life in close proximity with the General. The story thereafter proceeds along two parallel lines—one portraying Garnet's struggle to unravel the mystery of her self and her history, the other following the solitary and tragic story of Lee's life and career. The sections dealing with Lee, however, quickly overshadow the latter-day sequences—not only because they tell a livelier tale but because they don't relay on the quasi-mystical (and rather confusing) premise of Garnet's historical bilocation. Harper has attempted to broaden the perspective of the traditional coming-of-age story by setting it within a much larger framework of ancestry and recollection, but the epic scale of this approach seems out of proportion to the experience and aspirations of the narrator. This becomes especially troublesome at story's end, which relies on a blatantly magical climax to resolve the metaphorical and intellectual contradictions that have built up along the way. A fresh and likable start by a writer whose imagination has yet to find its proper boundaries. Although few readers will be able to suspend disbelief far enough to make the story work, most will want to try. Read full book review >