- Pat Cunningham Devoto's most recent novel, Out of the Night That Covers Me (0-446-52751-3, Warner hard-cover, 1/01), has over 60,000 copies in combined print and was highly praised in the New York Times Book Review and Washington Post Book World, among other publications. - My Last Days as Roy Rogers (0-446-52388-7, Warner hardcover, 1/99). Devoto's notable debut, received widespread praise in the Denver Post, Cleveland Plain Dealer, and Kirkus Reviews, among other publications. - Born and raised in North Alabama, Pat Cunningham Devoto taps into her personal experiences and memories of growing up in the changing South to infuse The Summer We Got Saved with astonishing honesty and poignancy.
The dawn of integration challenges the Southern smalltown conventions of Bainbridge, Ala., bringing unexpected epiphanies to a cast of loosely connected characters in Devoto's gracefully written new novel. Third-generation farmer Charles Rutland, father of five, watches the family business spiral into debt; as he considers his options, a gubernatorial candidate with a pro-integration message captures his attention and roils local politics. His free-spirited sister, Eugenia, comes to visit and sneaks his two oldest daughters off to Tennessee's Highlander Folk School, an interracial training camp for civil disobedience and social advocacy. There, Tab and Tina meet Dominique Calder, the biracial Yankee daughter of a divorced Civil Rights movement leader, who exposes the girls to the realities of social injustice. Devoto (My Last Days as Roy Rogers) also chronicles the parallel story of Tab's friend Maudie May, a polio patient at Tuskegee whose Highlander education galvanizes her to start a voter-registration school. While Maudie works to earn her students' trust, Dominique brings Tab to a lunch counter sit-in in Nashville, an experience that forever changes the formerly complacent teen. Devoto's episodic, nonchronological structure creates potent narrative pull, but her evenhanded, affectionate treatment of her complex characters, each struggling to make sense of their changing world, is the novel's greatest asset.