MISSOURI BLUE by Joseph Finley


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All the tomorrows had arrived--imminent, combining all the calendar leaves, compressing the months, crackling like. a lightning streak. Now."" Finley has created a painfully convincing picture of the Great Depression and what it meant to be rock-bottom poor in the backwoods of Missouri--his novel animates those mournful faces you once studied in Let Us Now Praise Famous Men and somehow gives them something to live for. And the only things worth living for are the familial verities--or ""love thy neighbor"" who is scrabbling as hard as you are on your tenant farm. Even if Braz Martin has been wiped out of his railroad job, hasn't his dirt farm really brought him closer to the basic things of life? Bound the whole family into a more loving unity than moneygrubbing townspeople ever know? And his scraggly neighbors, who help him and his kids through their malaria bouts: ""they comforted him; he was a soul among them; he grasped in light and he grasped in darkness."" Melodrama, perhaps, sentiment, perhaps. But Finley's story of the dying and rising of the seasons, of backbreaking labor with brief respites for a spelling bee or a Sunday dinner, is well remembered with both truth and marked feeling.

Pub Date: March 11th, 1976
Publisher: Putnam