THE RAINCROW by Jane Gilmore Rushing


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Rushing again demonstrates that her ear for the spare cadences of rural Texas speech, as well as a sensitivity to the spread of pain and obsession that can lie behind it, is acute and unexpectedly touching. The relentless documentation of supper, kitchen, and front porch small talk may require reader patience, but, with a slight twist or two, talk of ""fixing beans"" slides into a hurtful family history which narrator Gall and her kin take out, time after time, polish, reexamine, and rearrange. Divorced teacher Gail has moved in for the summer with mother Laura, whose weathered house may be the last one standing in the ghost community that was Walnut Grove. Pressured by son Paul, who has left school and wants to farm Laura's acres, Gall agrees to visit the neighboring relations: widowed Uncle Hugh, his son Stanfield, and his granddaughter Cyndi. Back and forth the families go, but, with the sudden, unwelcome announcement that Paul and Cyndi intend to marry, the old corrosive secrets surface--all centered on Laura's ""sin,"" which made her an outcast and blighted the lives of both Gall and Stanfield. At the close Laura, ""accepted"" once again, loses some but gains a kind of peace, and Paul and Cyndi press for a future. Although these young folks seem a mite over-noble, the speech, the landscape, and the mores are as immediate and arresting as the sputtering of a tractor on a long, quiet field.

Pub Date: Sept. 9th, 1977
Publisher: Doubleday