Thursday, April 03, 2014

Lamb in His Bosom by Caroline Miller

I read this book for one of the optional categories in the classics reading challenge I'm doing this year:  historical fiction classic. We're in Tennessee visiting friends right now, like we do (almost) every year at this time. Nancy is in a book club that met on Tuesday, and this was the book they read this month. I am sort of an honorary member of the club, since I only attend once a year. I'm really glad that this was the book they read, because I'd never heard of the book before and I thought it was a REALLY good book.

It was published in 1933 and won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1934. It is set in the backwoods of South Georgia during the years before and shortly after the Civil War. It is about a young couple, newly married, and follows their lives and the lives of their extended families over about 25 years. It shows the hardships of life in those times and reminded me frequently how easy and good my own life is, with running water, electricity, good medical care, plentiful food, etc. I loved the language and found it lyrical in many places, such as this quote from page 129 of my copy:
"Her heart had never been uplifted so high, nor cast down so low -- uplifted because she believed that this was the right thing for her to do, and downcast because she could not make her heart do this thing without nighabout breaking it. For a heart may be lifted up and cast down in the same moment, as sometimes sunshine comes while rain is falling, and builds upward in the sky tall reaches of misty, unlikely beauty."
Or this quote from page 304:
"Time does not pass in a clock's ticking; oh no! It goes like gusts of wind past the north corner of a house. Stay in the sun on the south side and you never know a wind is blowing, but breast around the north corner, and it will jerk your breath from out of your ribs. It is blowing, but you don't notice it, until that baby-chile, Mary Magnolia, is ready to stand up and take a husband and go yonder to Dicie Smith's house to live."
I rate it 5 out of 5.

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