JINCEY by Celestine Sibley


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Prowling the earth. . . from pillar to post, Dan to Beersheba. . ."" is the way Della remembers her days as a young'un following her restless mother, hoping they'd light on a good stay-place; to escape that life, Della married weak, Bible-toting Howie, who couldn't even earn enough for food to keep their infant son alive. And now Della's on the road again, setting out to find work in the Depression South, leaving young daughter Jincey with Howie's trash kin. (They're ""po' trash,"" as distinguished from just ""poor,"" meaning they don't wash or wear underwear.) But, after Jincey is boarded and rescued by Della twice, something wonderful may be about to happen. Della has been asked to marry Bart, a settled man whose uncle owns a mill. One problem: Della's marriage and daughter must be concealed. So Jincey learns to say ""Aunt Della,"" but she has nightmares that she might forget--and the beautiful stay-place with new husband Bart would vanish. Bart's a good man and loves them both, and it's Paradise: growing things in the garden, a house, friends, new things like ""drapes""--and even taking in huge, damp, and senile ""Motherdear"" (Bart's Ma) is no problem. But then Della is caught in her lie, and although Bart will not send them away, Jincey and Della become skittish, uneasy; Della has fits of meanness, becomes ill. And just when things are settling down again, Bart dies, and mother and daughter are back on the road, penniless (thanks to Bart's sister). ""I reckon I'll think of something,"" says Della. Sibley has again caught the flavor of a hard-pressed South--fiddle-and-pork-meat hospitality, sufferings turned outward in Klan cruelty, and the nervous, rawboned energy of the women. A spiky little tale about three generations of mothers and daughters doomed to travel on--just lookin' for a home.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1978
Publisher: Simon & Schuster