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The Healing Paperback – November 13, 2012
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“Compelling, tragic, comic, tender and mystical. . . . Combines the historical significance of Kathryn Stockett’s The Help with the wisdom of Toni Morrison’s Beloved.” —Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“A terrific novel that will take its place in the distinguished pantheon of Southern fiction…. Polly Shine is a character for the ages.” —Pat Conroy, author of The Prince of Tides
“A storytelling tour de force.” —Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Jonathan Odell won me over with his fresh take on an 1860's Mississippi plantation, and the connective power of story to heal body, mind and community.” —Lalita Tademy, author of Cane River
“A remarkable rite-of-passage novel with an unforgettable character. . . . The Healing transcends any clichés of the genre with its captivating, at times almost lyrical, prose; its firm grasp of history; vivid scenes; and vital, fully realized people, particularly the slaves with their many shades of color and modes of survival.” —Associated Press
“Odell gives voice to strong women at a time in history when their strength might have been their undoing. When Polly Shine's fierce knowledge comes up against Granada’s stubborn resistance, the reader is held captive as the two attempt to resolve their conflict and Granada is made to face her destiny. This moving story is a must-read for fans of historical fiction.” —Kathleen Grissom, author of The Kitchen House
“A haunting tale of Southern fiction peopled with vivid and inspiring personalities. . . . Polly Shine is an unforgettable character who shows how the power and determination of one woman can inspire and transform the lives of those around her.” —Bookreporter
“Jonathan Odell finds the right words, using the language of the day, its idiom and its music to great advantage in a compelling work that can stand up to The Help in the pantheon of Southern literature.” —Shelf Awareness
“Odell has written one of those beautiful Southern tales with unforgettable characters. Required reading.” —New York Post
“Engrossing. . . . This historical novel probes complex issues of freedom and slavery.” —Library Journal (starred review)
“When the young slave Granada Satterfield reluctantly undertakes a quest to recover her own identity, she finds that she must begin by seeking the answers to two questions: Who are my people and what are their stories? Jonathan Odell's compelling new novel The Healing is a lyrical parable, rich with historical detail and unflinching in the face of disturbing facts.” —Valerie Martin, author of Property
“Rich in character and incident.” —Publishers Weekly
“The Healing is a moving cri de coeur for all those who yearn to be free, and for the wise women among us who understand that to subjugate one person is to subjugate all of humanity."
—Robin Oliveira, author of My Name if Mary Sutter
About the Author
JONATHAN ODELL is the author of the acclaimed novel The View from Delphi, which deals with the struggle for equality in pre-civil rights Mississippi, his home state. His short stories and essays have appeared in numerous collections. He spent his business career as a leadership coach to Fortune 500 companies and currently resides in Minnesota.
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Top customer reviews
Interwoven in Granada's story is the story of Violet, a young girl who has witnessed her mother's death and is traumatized to the point of dying herself. She is dropped off at GranGran's cabin where the old lady cares for her by telling her stories, the stories of Granada's youth. The reader quickly realizes that the elderly GranGran is Granada herself. The importance of the stories of one's ancestry, knowing one's connection to all that has come before is a major theme in The Healing. The lives of the characters weave seamlessly throughout the narrative, arousing a few chuckles and tears. I look forward to more books by Jonathan Odell. I read The Healing because I had enjoyed his novel Miss Hazel and the Rosa Parks League, also high recommended.
Presented in epic fashion, the back and forth of two generations, the tale recounts the affairs of a hundred years among the same people on the plantation. The plot is a nail biter where the slaves are just a step ahead of the lash or sale to even worse masters in the swamps or down the river. The reader, of course, is on the side of the slaves against the uncaring master and an insane mistress, as well as some slaves who cling to their masters believing that better than finding their own core - that freedom can be more than just finding favor with the master or indeed being free of chains.
As engaging as the narrative is author Odell's incredible power over language and his lyrical prose. The dialogue is masterful with appropriate uses of "country" expressions that will delight your throughout these pages. In this, the prose is as close to narrative poetry as I've ever seen. Below is but one sample paragraph from hundreds in this lovely book.
"The chill night wind carried the sounds of her plea over the empty yard and across the quarter but no on lit their lanterns to see what ancient heart was breaking. Her ragged cry drifted over the graveyards that hugged tight their silent dead and fluttered through a primeval forest, taking the last leaves of the hardwoods and scattering them over the souls that once had been rooted there. It rippled the surface of the yellow-mud creek, below which lay drowned a secret name that had not been called in seventy years."
"The Healer"will transport you into the minds and hearts of a society that has only partially been lost, a place where the reader can feel both villain and victim traveling a path not yet well mapped in American history. Make this the next book on your list of those you must read.