For 40 days, I am choosing a book from my personal book shelves. It will be a book that is insightful, intriguing, or illuminating about women. I will write why I think this book is a positive one and worth a read. This isn’t advertising for me or to promote any of my friends. It’s simply praise for good books.
Day 2 – This One and Magic Life by Anne Carroll George
Mystery readers will recognize Anne George’s name from her Birmingham-based Southern Sisters mystery series. Apart from writing the adventures of Mouse and Sister and their view of the Vulcan’s naked backside, Anne Carroll George was also a poet, a publisher, and a Pulitzer Prize nominee. The subtitle of This One and Magic Life is “a novel of a Southern family” and it is true. The book portrays a Southern family in all its glorious dysfunction.
Why is This One and Magic Life a good read for women? A few pages in, a chapter begins with “The Deep South is still a mystery. It is even a mystery to those who live there” and the novel proceeds to show why and how one woman’s choices ripple through the lives of people she loves. This is not a mystery novel, but who is more mind-bending and alluring than a Southern woman with a secret?
In the story, there is a death near Mobile Bay, and the family gathers for a tender and troubling send-off for Artie—mother, wife, aunt–whose last wishes, if honored, will shiver every branch on the family tree. This story’s prose reflects Anne George’s poetic style that makes it an evocative and thoughtful read.
A writerly note: Anne Carroll George chose to write this in the present tense. It was published in 2001, proving to naysayers—as strong-willed Artie might–that a present tense narrative is not some newfangled fad.