Mary Byrd Thornton could understand how a reporter couldn' t resist the story: a nine-year-old boy sexually molested and killed on Mother's Day, 1966. A suspect to whom nothing would stick. A neighborhood riddled with secrets. No one, especially the bungling or complicit authorities, had been able to solve the crime. Now, 30 years later, the reporter' s call will reel a reluctant Mary Byrd from Mississippi back to Virginia where she must confront her family - and, once again, the murder's irremovable stain of tragedy. Lisa Howorth' s remarkable Flying Shoes is a work of fiction, but the murder is based on the still-unsolved case of her stepbrother, a front page story in the Washington Post. And yet this is not a crime novel; it is an honest and luminous story of a particular time and place in the South, where even calamitous weather can be a character, everyone has a story, and all are inextricably entwined. With a flamboyant cast, splendid dark humor, a potent sense of history, and a shocking true story at its heart, Flying Shoes is a rich and candid novel from a fresh new southern voice about family and memory and one woman' s flight from a wounded past.
Lisa Howorth's Flying Shoes is interesting - even absorbing in parts. Clearly, she is a very talented writer with a good story to tell. Sadly, Debra Winger's reading spoiled it for me. The character of Mary Byrd frequently sounded whiny in this recording, reminding me of the less attractive aspects of the characters Ms Winger played in Urban Cowboy and Terms of Endearment. Given her skilled performances in those parts, I can understand why the publisher thought Ms Winger would be a good choice for the narrator, but it was a mistake in this instance. To determine whether it was the character of Mary Byrd as written or the performance that was off-putting, I read part of the book in print. The character's voice was far less appealing in this recorded version than in the written work. I recommend the book, but not this recording.
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