A blithe and redemptive seriocomic love story filled with country music, the
ghosts of Halloween, and an ironic brand of down-home religion.
Newly divorced and feeling the pain of separation from his family, Hud Smith channels his regret into writing country-western songs, contemplating life on the lam with his 8-year-old daughter, and searching cryptic postcards for news of his teenage son who has run off with The Daughters of God, an alternative Gospel-punk band of growing fame. Then he finds himself inching toward reconciliation with his ex, tossing his whole talent for misery into question as they head off in a borrowed school bus, hoping so very tentatively to bring the entire family together again.
In this endearing misadventure that threatens to turn out right in spite of it all, Schaffert writes a thin line between tragedy and hilarity, turning wry humor and a keen sense of the paradoxical onto characters who deserve all the tender care he gives them.
To get through the afternoons that wound into early evenings,
driving a school bus along long country roads and driveways, Hud kept slightly
drunk. He sipped from an old brown root-beer bottle he'd filled with vodka.
There'd been a few times in the past when he'd gotten too drunk, when he'd
swerved too much to avoid a raccoon, and even once a sudden hawk swooping too
low. He made himself sick to think how he'd once nearly driven the rickety bus
in all its inflammability into an electrical pole. He knew what an ugly
notoriety such an accident would bring him. The whole world, Hud thought,
likes to mourn together and hate together when it can.
There was a man in town named Robbie Schrock, who, like some fairy-tale hag, had murdered his own two boys with rat-poisoned candied apples he'd dropped into their Halloween sacks. When the children died, Robbie Schrock cried on the TV news and blamed the neighbors, and the whole little town cried with ...
If you liked The Singing and Dancing Daughters of God, try these:
'Daum brings a crisp, wisecracking voice to her novel about Lucinda, a life-style correspondent for a morning television show, who, in search of a more interesting life, leaves New York for Prairie City, a fictional Midwestern town.'
In this funny, sad and somehow good natured book Jean Harfenist explores the interface between love and dysfunction through young Lillian whose voice will stick with you long after you turn the last page.
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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