Liza Nelson captures that pivotal time when a parent's power to shape and shield her child is drawing to an end.
In her vibrant and wise novel, Liza Nelson captures that pivotal time when a parent's power to shape and shield her child is drawing to an end.
The year is 1986, when airport terrorism, serial killers, and Iran-Contra have put most of the population into a collective funk. But artist Godiva Blue feels safe. A refugee from the late sixties, self-proclaimed visionary, and "lady janitor" at the local elementary school, Godiva believes she has found a haven for herself and her daughter, Dylan, in the backwaters of northwest Florida. Then, on a casual trip to the post office, Godiva glances at the FBI most-wanted poster and recognizes the face of the man with whom she conceived Dylan during an antiwar rally. Meanwhile, at fifteen Dylan is chafing under her mother's overwhelming personality. When she discovers the poster that Godiva had hidden in a rare moment of self-doubt, Dylan begins to build a fantasy future centered on reuniting with her father, setting her--and Godiva's--course.
August 28, 1986
Well, this summer is over. Kaput. Finis. Down the tubes. Extinct. All gone. The end.
As far as I'm concerned, anyway.
It shut like a book this afternoon. One minute I was full of August, easing my way down Highway 12, windows down, music blasting, the hot wind whipping in thick ribbons against my neck. The next minute I was chilled to the bone.
To the bone.
I'd been at work. The teachers come back for pre-planning in a week, and I want no hassles from middle-aged women having nervous breakdowns because their chalkboards are dusty or their windows won't open. Life is too short and art is too long. Being a janitor - excuse me, custodian - is not exactly my life's work. I am an artist first, but I have to earn a living. If I were by myself it would be one thing, but with a daughter to feed, clothe, educate and all the rest, I've had to make my compromises, though fewer than most people, I'm glad to say. Bourgeois excuse, someone would have ...
"This is one of those wonderful novels that treats
the mother-daughter relationship for what it is - part
minefield, part love nest."
- Pat Conroy
Liza Nelson's debut novel tells the story of Godiva Blue, an artist, single
mother, and self-proclaimed visionary, who believes she has found a haven for
herself and her daughter, Dylan, in the backwaters of northwest Florida in the
mid-eighties. A refugee of the late sixties, Godiva revels in a self-reliant
existence that allows her free reign of her eccentricities.
But Godiva, who has buried pieces of her past, discovers that she cannot handpick the parts of her life that she would prefer to box away. On a casual trip to the post office, she glances at the FBI most ...
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Smart and poignant, charming and witty this is a wonderful debut novel, a mother-daughter story that proves it's always those who give you the most trouble that end up getting access to the purest part of your heart.
'Who else can write about dancing, music, JP-4 fuel, the military, and strawberries, make it funny, and also make it about matters of the heart? Only Sarah Bird. This is her best book yet, a big book that you'll want to read again as soon as you finish it the first time.'
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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