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In the Garden of Stone
by Susan Tekulve


Overview - Shortly before daybreak in War, West Virginia, a passing train derails and spills an avalanche of coal over sixteen-year-old Emma Palmisano's house, trapping her sleeping family inside. The year is 1924, and the remote mines of Appalachia have filled with families like Emma's--poor, immigrant laborers building new lives half a world away from the island of Sicily.  Read more...

 
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More About In the Garden of Stone by Susan Tekulve
 
 
 
Overview
Shortly before daybreak in War, West Virginia, a passing train derails and spills an avalanche of coal over sixteen-year-old Emma Palmisano's house, trapping her sleeping family inside. The year is 1924, and the remote mines of Appalachia have filled with families like Emma's--poor, immigrant laborers building new lives half a world away from the island of Sicily. Emma awakes in total darkness, to the voice of a railroad man, Caleb Sypher, who is digging her out from the suffocating coal. From his pocket he removes two spotless handkerchiefs and tenderly cleans Emma's bare feet. Though she knows little else about this railroad man, Emma marries him a week later, and Caleb delivers her from the gritty coal camp to thirty-four acres of pristine Virginia mountain farmland. Winner of the South Carolina First Novel Prize in 2012, In the Garden of Stone is a multi-generational tale about the nature of power and pride, love and loss, and how one impoverished family endures estrangement from their land and each other in order to unearth the rich seams of forgiveness. Emma gives birth to a son, Dean, but the family's life is shattered by a hobo's bullet at the railroad station; the boy grows up early, becoming a remote man with fierce and unpredictable loyalties. Dean's daughter, Hannah, forsakes her heritage and wanders far from home, in the end reconnecting with the Sypher family in the wildest place of all, the human heart. Bleak, harrowing, and beautifully told, In the Garden of Stone, is a haunting saga of endurance and redemption.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781891885211
  • ISBN-10: 1891885219
  • Publisher: Hub City Press
  • Publish Date: April 2013
  • Page Count: 260
  • Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Literary
Books > Fiction > Historical - General

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2013-03-11
  • Reviewer: Staff

Tekulve’s debut novel, winner of the South Carolina First Novel Prize, loops around and through the lives of one poor West Virginia family of Italian immigrants from the 1920s into the 1970s. Beginning with Emma Sypher, who marries a railroad worker in her small town of War, the constant here is hard, rural living. When Emma’s husband is killed by a tramp, their 12-year-old son, Dean, is sent to live with his grandparents, working the mines. In time the narrative leaps to Dean’s wife, Sadie, in 1937, and then to their daughter, Hannah, 20 years later, with side characters and scenic overlooks along the way. The book reads less like a novel than a loosely linked collection of short stories, with abrupt shifts in time and point of view that deaden emotional engagement, despite the hardships each character faces. Though the plot offers few footholds and frequent repetitions, descriptions of living off of the land—and the land itself—are in abundant supply. Tekulve (My Mother’s War) takes the long view of family and relationships, giving us snapshots of the landmarks that echo through generations. (May)

 
BAM Customer Reviews