Named for a flower whose blood-red sap possesses the power both to heal and poison, Bloodroot is a stunning fiction debut about the legaciesof magic and madness, faith and secrets, passion and lossthat haunt one family across the generations, from the Great Depression to today.
The novel is told in a kaleidoscope of seamlessly woven voices and centers around an incendiary romance that consumes everyone in its path: Myra Lamb, a wild young girl with mysterious, haint blue eyes who grows up on remote Bloodroot Mountain; her grandmother Byrdie Lamb, who protects Myra fiercely and passes down the touch that bewitches people and animals alike; the neighbor boy who longs for Myra yet is destined never to have her; the twin children Myra is forced to abandon but who never forget their mothers deep love; and John Odom, the man who tries to tame Myra and meets with shocking, violent disaster. Against the backdrop of a beautiful but often unforgiving country, these lives come togetheronly to be torn apartas a dark, riveting mystery unfolds.
With grace and unflinching verisimilitude, Amy Greene brings her native Appalachiaand the faith and fury of its peopleto rich and vivid life. Here is a spellbinding tour de force that announces a dazzlingly fresh, natural-born storyteller in our midst.
Myra looks like her mama, but prettier because of her daddy mixed in. She got just the right amount of both. The best thing about Myra's daddy was his eyes, blue as the sky. They'd pierce right through you. Myra ended up with the same blue-blue eyes. I always figured she was too pretty and then John Odom came along. Now I'll die alone. It's not that I'm scared of being alone with this mountain. I love it like another person. I just miss my grandbaby. Me and Myra's mama wasn't close. Clio had little regard for me or Macon either one. Myra's the daughter I always wished I had.
I didn't see nothing wrong with John Odom at first, but even if I'd seen that snake coiled up inside his heart I wouldn't have tried to stop her. I could tell by her eyes Myra had to have him whatever the outcome. Now I know the outcome is no good. This morning I went to see her and it broke my heart in two. I can't stand to think about what he might be doing to her beside of them tracks. Through the years I ...
Bloodroot presents a range of voices by weaving together narratives from Myra Lamb's family. Author Amy Greene prevents the narratives from sprawling like kudzu by organizing them into paired sections, allowing characters to alternate speaking in groups of two. The result is a dynamic, layered effect that allows the reader to sink progressively deeper into the Lamb family, as opposed to the traditional approach of going forward through a linear plot progression... While stylistic parallels to Wordsworth's
daffodils are evident throughout the novel, Greene's characters function with
independence and resolution that bring the American transcendentalists - Emerson,
Thoreau - more readily to mind. Bloodroot works at a slower, heavier pace
than Fannie Flagg's Fried Green Tomatoes or Rebecca Wells' Divine Secrets
of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, and readers that enjoyed Charles Frazier's Cold
Mountain will find pleasure in Bloodroot's pages.
(Reviewed by Elizabeth Whitmore Funk).
Full Review (494 words).
Characters in Bloodroot rely on William Wordsworth's poetry as a source of comfort and inspiration, but echoes of his literary philosophy and poetic interests can also be found in the pages of Amy Greene's novel.
Just as Bloodroot relies on memory to tell its stories, much of Wordsworth's poetry focuses on capturing moments of memory and recollection. He developed a philosophy of "two consciousnesses": himself in the present and himself in the past, and a lot of his poetry sought to identify the discrepancy between these two. Whereas Marcel Proust, in his exhausting account, In Search of Lost Time, pursues the depth of memory through the taste of his madeleine cookie, Wordsworth's poetry explores the ...
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