Sunday, May 10, 2015

Fortnightly Book, May 10

The fortnightly book is Marshall Terry's Tom Northway. I know practically nothing about the book, although it is the first work in a 'saga' having to do with American life. The blurb inside the dust jacket starts out:

An old farmer, celebrating his ninetieth birthday in the simple ritual of the daily chores, reflects on his life, its meaning, and his future in this wonderfully warm and affirmative novel.

I am wary of books called 'warm and affirmative' (I am perversely tempted to say that I prefer cold and negative, but the real problem is that I don't trust what other people call 'warm and affirmative'), so this is not an especially promising start for me, but the book seems to have been moderately well regarded and the rest of the blurb actually does make the title character sound attractive (hard-working farmer with a good, if imperfect family, and a love of animals), so we will see.

Marshall Terry himself is a Dallas author, which is ultimately a reason why he ends up in the list. Not all, but a lot of Fortnightly Books come from my grandparents' library, which I inherited. Most of them were from my grandfather, who was a voracious reader all his life, but I have a number of books that are certainly from my grandmother. This book is certainly from my grandmother's side because the name on the ex-libris (Leftwich) clearly links it to her mother's family. (If I'm not mixing up the family tree, it belonged to her aunt, but I might be wrong about that -- it's not a side of the family I know all that much about, beyond the fact that it is an old Virginia family deriving from an old Cheshire family.) My great-grandparents on that side lived in Dallas -- and the booklabel clearly gives a Dallas address -- so that's the link. The book received a number of awards and so it would be quite reasonable for a Dallas resident to be aware of, and have a copy of, a book by a Dallas author.

It's fitting, I think, that a tale about American family comes to me through my genealogy.

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