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#7:Recommended Reading: The Big Eddy Club and The Leper Compound

[ Edited ]
Hello, Book Explorers:

Just a quick note before I head off for a few days at the American Booksellers Associations Winter Institute where the Literary Ventures Fund has been invited to talk about the books we support. I’ll have a full report next week about how it went and also about what booksellers and publishers are most excited about. Among the books we’ll be discussing at the conference are two that will be featured in Book Explorers in February. I’ll be asking the authors to drop by our club as well.

The Leper Compound is being published this month by Bellevue Literary Press, so now's the time to put in your online order for it or ask your bookseller to get a copy for you. The Big Eddy Club was published in 2007 by New Press and was just rejacketed (the new cover is red) and has been relaunched (with support from LVF). I’d love to know what you think of these books. JM Coetzee (Nobel laureate) and Sister Helen Prejean (Dead Man Walking author) really liked them, which is no small thing. See info, below.

And thanks for all your enthusiastic responses/additions to the Just Read It List, Strangers on a Train and other blog entries featuring my current passions and peeves.


By Paula Nangle

"The Leper Compound succeeds remarkably in giving a sense of how, during the last years of white rule in southern Africa, the daily experience of ordinary people was interfused with the larger historical drama."
—J.M. Coetzee, 2003 Nobel Laureate for Literature and author of Slow Man

A stunning debut novel by a psychiatric nurse in which illness unleashes the uncanny and essential of human identity, featuring an American missionary's daughter who grows into womanhood amid the social and political conflict of 1980s southern Africa The setting of this extraordinary novel is Rhodesia in the throes of the conflict that will give birth to Zimbabwe, a transition that Nangle witnessed when she lived there. Colleen, motherless from the age of seven, is left alone with her father, an American ex pat coffee farmer, and her younger sister, whose mental illness removes her from the family. The Leper Compound is the record of Colleen's passage into adulthood across an Africa in transformation. Extending beyond the usual parameters of a "coming of age" story, it is, simultaneously, about the forging of personal and national identity. Paula Nangle was raised by missionaries in the US and southern Africa and now lives in Benton Harbor, Michigan, where she works as a psychiatric nurse.

THE BIG EDDY CLUB: The Stocking Stranglings and Southern Justice (non-fiction)
By David Rose

"A gripping and brilliant piece of reporting that both lays bare an appalling miscarriage of justice and exposes its origins in the tortured history of the South."
— Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking

Over the course of eight bloody months in the 1970s, a serial rapist and murderer terrorized Columbus, Georgia, killing seven elderly white women by strangling them in their beds. In 1986, eight years after the last murder, an African American, Carlton Gary, was convicted and sentenced to death. Though many in the city doubt his guilt, he remains on death row. Vanity Fair investigative journalist David Rose has followed this case for a decade in an investigation that led him to the Big Eddy Club—an all-white, members-only club in Columbus, frequented by the town's most prominent judges and lawyers . . . as well as most of the seven murdered women. The Big Eddy Club is a gripping, revealing drama, full of evocatively drawn characters, insidious institutions, and the extraordinary connections that bind past and present. The book is also a compelling, accessible, and timely exploration of race and criminal justice, not just in the context of the South but in the entire United States, as it addresses the corruption of due process as a tool of racial oppression.

Message Edited by ande on 01-30-2008 08:56 PM