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An Eighth of August Hardcover – October 17, 2000


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Crown; 1st edition (October 17, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517705893
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517705896
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,548,893 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Appealing characters overpopulate Trice's (Only Twice I've Wished for Heaven) solid but top-heavy second novel. Each year in August, the small African-American town of Halley's Landing holds a festival to commemorate the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. As longtime resident "Aunt" Cora Hoskins begins preparations in 1986, she is joined by Henry Gray and his wife, Thelma, whom Cora raised; Henry's sister Flossie Jo, who is coping with a divorce and is estranged from her pregnant teenage daughter, Sweet Alma; and May Ruth Morgan, an eccentric white woman who visits Cora each year to attend the festival. Sadly, this year's events also cause the celebrants to recall the untimely death of Flossie Jo's son, 11-year-old El, the year before: That tragedy is set in motion when a seedy visitor to town who calls himself Mr. Paul is unable to find a room, and is invited to stay with Cora. Befriended by El and his 16-year-old cousin Pepper, Mr. Paul betrays the family's trust with a heinous act. The episode deeply unnerves El, whose plan to punish the man goes awry, resulting in the fatal accident. Unable to forgive himself for his imagined complicity in El's death, Pepper's behavior becomes erratic and he lands in jail. Flossie Jo knows her absolution will assuage Pepper's guilt, but first she must contend with her daughter and resolve their dispute. More will happen before the festival closes, but at its end all are left with a sense of peace and relief. Each of the characters is well delineated, with interesting foibles and strengths, but the novel is too short to do justice to their stories; it feels uncomfortably dense with incidents, encounters and conversations. A streamlined cast and sharper focus would have strengthened this otherwise promising tale. 4-city author tour. (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

In Halley's Landing, a small Illinois town, the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation has been celebrated on August 8 since the late 1880s. The festival is one of the grandest in the Midwest. Yet each year, along with the good times, there are painful memories, heartfelt confessions, and dark secrets. In 1986, the community has gathered to celebrate another festival one year after the unfortunate death of a young boy. Among the great cast are Aunt Cora, the outspoken family elder who provides refuge for those in need; Thelma, the wife, mother, and sister who has compassion yet difficulty dealing with others; Herbert, Thelma's husband; May Ruth, the older woman who visits year after year; Flossie, the unpredictable sister-in-law; and Sweet Alma, Flossie's daughter. What brings them back to Halley's Landing for this celebration is special and unique for each one of the characters; their past and perspective add flavor to the celebration and to their gathering. Trice's second novel, after the successful Only Twice I've Wished for Heaven (1997), will assuredly have commercial success. Lillian Lewis
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Denise M. on November 13, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read the authors previous novel 'Only Twice I've Wished For Heaven' and enjoyed it so much that I was eagerly anticipating this novel. I was however somewhat disappointed.
This novel is about the events surrounding a celebration of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation which occurs every year in the Midwest. This story is told from the perspective of several different characters which at times renders the novel difficult to understand. Although the author takes the time to convey to the reader which character is speaking and the time frame (year) in which they are recounting their story, the novel jumps back and forth between time periods and characters in a manner which is often very confusing.
At the beginning of the novel, the reader is introduced to Flossie who pulls a gun on a minister in the middle of a church service. The reader is made aware that she, Flossie holds the minister responsible for some "un-Christian like" behavior. However it is not until the middle of the book, after much discussion of Flossie and her life after this event ( attempted shooting of the minister), that the reader discovers what that event is. After the reader is made aware of the event, the author incorporates the same opening scene into the novel at a later date and continues the story from that point.
The reader also is told that a tragic event occured which resulted in the death of one of the children, EL of one of the characters, (Sweet Alma, Flossie's daughter) and we know that another of the characters (Pepper) feels to blame and feels responsible but by the end of the novel, it is unclear, based on the circumstances of the death, why he feels that way. The author also tells us that Flossie, El's grandmother feels as if Pepper is to blame for the death.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I tried to read this book,but I couldn't follow it. I got to about page 55 when I just couldn't take it anymore. I usually try to finish any book I start, but this one was torture. She jumps from character to character, and I just couldn't follow her. I wasn't sure who was who, or what was what. I was still waiting to find out what happened to El. I'm willing to give her first book a try, because I've read some pretty good reviews about it, but I wouldn't suggest this one to anyone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Monique Morgan on December 9, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Dawn Turner Trice is an excellent author. This is the first book that I read of hers. She has so many lessons in this story..so many old sayings that make you feel like the characters are a part of your family. I hope the lessons will linger on within me for years to come. If this festival that they speak of was near here, I would surely attend. This book makes true that in every family some rain, and some pain must fall as the author says, " Sometimes grief opens up a window. Sometimes grief open it wide enough for something wonderful to fly in". I'm glad Trice's messages flew into my space.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By "July Lady" on February 16, 2002
Format: Hardcover
An eighth of august is the story of a just everyday family in the 60's going through problems. The story is told through different members of the family. The story is centered around El, the young nephrew, death a year before. The family is again getting ready to attend the county festive where the tradgedy struck the year before. The story setting is before and after the death took place. I like reading books with the time frame of the 60's I throught the book was good, but kinda of confusing with the years.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sharon Daye on February 8, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I purchased this book because I was drawn by it's cover. I'm just not sure I understood the storyline. I was never able to grasp who was telling it and what timeframe we were supposed to be in. I was able to finish the book but I think I just didn't get what the writer was trying to say. Guess that's why they say never judge a book by the cover.
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