CURED BY FIRE by Tim McLaurin


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 Once again, McLaurin (Keeper of the Moon: A Southern Boyhood, 1991, etc.) plows the fertile ground of the poor, rural South. This time he shows how two men with similar beginnings who take different paths that lead to seemingly opposite lives can still end up in much the same place. The story opens on a cold night as Lewis carries a sick Elbridge, wrapped tight in a blanket and held close to his chest, to a clearing on a mountain where he's hoping doves will come before Elbridge dies. As Lewis fights off the chill and hankers for a swig of the vodka in his duffel, he recalls a past full of pain and prays that ``somehow between now and the morning, some of it begins to start making sense.'' Meanwhile, a silent Elbridge slips in and out of his body, waiting for the transcendent release he's ``been wanting since I was born.'' As dawn approaches, each reflects separately on his respective life. Lewis grew up in North Carolina with a hard-drinking father and very little money. Fortunately, his football talent won him a scholarship to U.N.C., where he met his future wife, the beautiful and rich Beverly. But even with the success of his own contracting business and the birth of a daughter, Lewis still felt empty. Elbridge also grew up poor in the South, but he suffered the added insult of discrimination because he's a ``half-breed nigger.'' When the grandfather who raised him passed away, he became a migrant worker, discovered faith in God, married, had two daughters, and settled down to try to provide for his family in Tennessee. After tragedy ripped both families apart, each man headed to Seattle where their paths crossed and their lives were irreversibly changed. While not much is new in the story (alcoholism, neglect, and abuse), the seductive passions of these two men keep the reader engaged.

Pub Date: Jan. 25th, 1995
ISBN: 0-399-14003-4
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1994


by Tim McLaurin
NonfictionKEEPER OF THE MOON by Tim McLaurin
by Tim McLaurin