Sunday, May 6, 2012

Blue Sabine

By Gerald Duff
moon city press, 315 pgs
Submitted by the author
Rating: 4

Gerald Duff has mad skills. Blue Sabine is lyrical, it reads like poetry but in a good way. This is the story of the Holt family as they relocate from Louisiana to Texas after the Civil War and unto the present day, told by the voices of its women, who have always been the strength of Texas. Everybody knows that, right?

Don't come to Blue Sabine for plot or climax or denouement or any of those usual things, though you'll find plenty of protagonists and antagonists (sometimes the same person is both.) Come for the characters and the stories they tell. Each character is a melody joined by the chorus of stories they tell about themselves and each other. Our stories are how we know who we are, the first lessons we learn about family and how to behave or not in the big wide world.

If you are a Texan you will recognize this family because it is yours. It is certainly mine. I have an Aunt Abigail who likes to hold forth as the authority on all things appropriate and inappropriate. I have a Great Grandfather Amos Holt who has turned to God and become a preacher mostly because he is overwhelmed by the women surrounding him and finds God more comprehensible. I have a Cousin (you must capitalize "cousin") Nola Mae whose faith resides in her beauty and style and worth on the man-market (a time-honored tradition among southern women) and whose children have sometimes taken a backseat to her personal ambitions. I would like to note that we don't have anyone who was blinded by a pimp for insulting his hooker. Not that I am aware of. Not yet. Meanwhile, it is my personal ambition to be more like GrandMaude and you'll just have to read Blue Sabine to know what I mean.

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