©1994 Sharyn McCrumb; (P)1995 Recorded Books, LLC
I am from East Tennessee and having discovered McCrumb feels like a homecoming. My only argument is the seeming concensus (even by characters not familiar with the aging induced by the prison system) that a man of the genetic stock in those mountains in his 60's is ancient. Then I stop to think that the generation I associate with the toughness of these hill people has, indeed, passed. My grandmother could have walked you through those mountains in her 60's - do not doubt it. But, those were heartier people who survived many things that would kill modern folks.
I read the story about Mary the elephant years ago while a student at UT Knoxville and could not listen to that part. At the time I read it, it felt like my soul had been savaged by the savegry that cannot die; it abides in the cruel ignorance of the human spirit, and it is timeless.
I adore Sally Darling's voice. Her voice does not reflect the East Tennessee accent, but I am, quite frankly, glad of that. My East Tennessee accent is rather flat and twangy. Darling's singsong lower Southern accent is beautiful.
McCrumb is a masterful story weaver.
For those of us who've had to leave the mountains it carries the poignant loss of the land that we love. For others it explains that loss and relates an excellent story. The differences in social class are explored. As are the difficulties of the teen years. Both for those living the normal teen experience as well as those who stepped into adult roles too soon. I did have an issue with the reader. The cultured upper class accent didn't fit well in mouths of poor mountain people. Even with that it was an excellent listening experience.
I'm a recovering librarian. Since I had a stroke in 2002 I have found reading print difficult. I am so grateful for audiobooks.
Sharyn McCrumb is a gifted author. Her careful research and thoughtful introspective look at morality make her books haunting.
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