A lyrical first novel skillfully weaves a glowing, richly textured tapestry that captures the warp and weft of a time and place with exquisite humanity. The year is 1919; the place, southwestern Arkansas. A dramatic baseball game between the white team of Sugars Spring and the blacks from neighboring Bethel (""which the whites call Chickenham"") launches this evocative intertwining of black and white, man and woman, young and old. With no plot per se, here is the story of the two communities and the vividly rendered people who comprise them. From Sugars Spring's Yankee Cora Emery McRae, who as a girl ventured south from Maine to fulfill a promise her grandfather made to a dying soldier in the Civil War, to Bethel's wise old Rebekah Sarah, who can see the future with her one green eye, the women serve as the backbones of the cyclical stories spun throughout. Two equally powerful men, Bethel's Samuel Daniel McElroy, who stunned the whites in that first game by hitting the baseball ""heavenward,"" and Sugars Spring's Sheriff, David Ben Sugars, provide like voices of masculine decency and reason, although they can never become friends. Various climactic events weave together McLarey's watertight themes: the selective, destructive cyclone--foreseen by Rebekah Sarah; the rape of Rebekah Sarah's granddaughter Baby, as well as the not-somysterious disappearance of the rapist; and the flawed marriage of David Ben Sugars and Cora Emery McRae's soulmate, Little Jewel Sugars. The lives of all are inextricably linked by force of sheer proximity but also by the characters themselves, drawn to each other like magnets despite all the forces conspiring against them. Complicated characters not easily forgotten, and prose both elegant and original: a satisfying draw from the wells of this promising new writer's imagination.