- 10,99 €
From “the lineage of . . . Flannery O’Connor and Eudora Welty” comes a prize-winning novel about crimes of passion in Alabama (San Francisco Chronicle).
After the deaths of his parents, Simon Bell returns to his sleepy hometown of Sherwood, Alabama, hoping for a simple, quiet existence. But when he meets Delia Holladay one hot, unmoving summer day, latent needs and desires are suddenly awakened. Delia is young, beautiful, impulsive, and married. As their emotions deepen, the affair soon slips beyond their control, building to a final reckoning that will leave no one untouched.
Evoking a medley of distinct voices, Michael Knight, “a writer of the first rank”, and winner of the Robert Penn Warren Prize for Excellence in Fiction, tells a richly layered tale of adultery, love, and murder (Esquire). “Every word in this deeply resonant novel is pure gold” as it follows the arc of one fateful romance to its inevitable and heartbreaking conclusion (The Washington Post Book World).
Knight's assured first novel paints a touching picture of a quiet Alabama suburban neighborhood disrupted by tragedy. In contrast to the short stories in Dogfight (reviewed below), in which Knight carefully builds to a climactic one-two punch, here he opens with the knockout: 63-year-old Sam Halladay walks over to the house next door and pulls the trigger of a .38 revolver, killing 28-year-old Simon Bell. The motive: Bell's affair with Halladay's young, beautiful bride, Delia. Sketching the events leading up to Bell's death, Knight alternates Simon's flashback narration with third-person accounts centered around Sam and Delia Halladay, Sheriff Nightingale and Betty Fowler, an eccentric neighbor whose divining rod leads her to witness the crime. Knight's expert re-creation of the quotidian makes the bizarre events of his narrative all the more haunting. The questions he raises about what drives someone to adultery or murder remain rhetorical, even as he plants clues to their answers. Needy, restless Delia, for instance, is revealed through a childhood memory of a tree she once watched grow mangled by its ride in the torrent of an icy stream, and of her urge to follow it: "I think I wanted to see if I could outswim the current or come through that gap somehow undamaged." In smooth and graceful prose studded with arresting imagery and keenly observed details, Knight skillfully makes plausible the confluence of his characters' lives, the undercurrents of sadness and loneliness that connect them and their puzzlement as they try to understand how events and circumstances have led them to this crucial juncture.