LOOSE TO THE WILDS by Martin McMurtrey


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Mists rolling over the Illinois Bottoms country, vapors rising from the Bloody-Gar Slough, and the aroma of trumpet vines all befog the special relationship between teen-aged Junior and his spinster Aunt Jay, a woman who lives in such harmony with her plants that the local boys suspect her of being a witch. Aunt Jay still mourns her bootlegger lover, Greg Broussard, who was shot dead some twenty years ago, and in the course of several school vacations--while Junior and Jay commune over berry picking, jelly-making, and fishing--Junior learns the identity of the locals who betrayed Broussard to Chicago gangsters. The older woman's mystical immersion in the natural world (""she lives the four seasons like each one is a god, bringing its special blessings"") is a sympathetic theme spoiled by florid prose that is an unlikely hybrid of present tense dialect and ""poetic"" effusions. The dreamy, remote backwoods setting and the old, unsolved mystery axe enticements, but only an especially sympathetic reader will care for the taste of Aunt Jay's ""spiritual berries.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1976
Publisher: Harper & Row