BookBrowse Reviews Flora by Gail Godwin

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Flora

By Gail Godwin

Flora
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  • Hardcover: May 2013,
    288 pages.
    Paperback: Mar 2014,
    288 pages.

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Through spare writing and a small cast of characters, Flora maintains a tight focus on a storyline that unfolds through layers of perspective in a small North Carolina town in 1945.

Gail Godwin's Flora paints a psychological portrait that is at once detailed and deceptive. The year is 1945, and we see the events of one pivotal summer through the eyes of Helen, an analytical narrator who is only ten years old. Helen couches her tale in the language of a mind still growing into itself, a perspective that is naively self-absorbed and precociously articulate in equal measure. Helen is coming of age alone with only her new caregiver, Flora, for company. They live in the North Carolina hills in a rambling house that was once a private sanatorium. Helen thinks she understands how the adult world works, even as she discovers she is missing some of the most crucial facts.

Godwin has stripped her stage of extraneous characters and sets. Helen has recently lost the beloved grandmother, Nonie, who raised her, and her father has been called away to do important war work. He ...

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Beyond the Book:
  Polio in 1940s North Carolina

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