Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ Free Shipping
+ Free Shipping
The Heaven of Mercury: A Novel Paperback – August 17, 2003
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Brad Watson's The Heaven of Mercury brings fresh, sly humor to the traditionally dark genre of Southern gothic. It's the story of the small town of Mercury, Mississippi, told through the lives of various inhabitants, including a white man, Finus, and his lifelong love, Birdie; and a black girl, Creasie, and her Aunt Vish--slave descendants who see Mercury as the zone of their captivity. All over Mercury, characters dream about moments in the past when they wish they'd had the courage to change the course of their lives. Watsons (Last Days of the Dog-Men) ornate, lush prose will remind readers of Faulkner, but he has a much lighter touch. Mercury is a sad world of violent drunks, unpunished crimes, and unrequited love, but Watsons wry observations work to dispel the gloom (a strict Christian woman wears "a tight brown bun in her hair like an onion God drew forth from her mind"). The Heaven of Mercury is an ambitious work from an important voice in American fiction--a voice with a distinctly Southern accent. --Ellen Williams --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Watson traces a dark but resonant journey through the world of the Southern gothic in his bleak, touching debut novel (after his hailed collection, Last Days of the Dog-Men), set in tiny Mercury, Miss., in the first quarter of the 20th century. He takes some risks in employing genre cliches, starting with the romantic triangle in which young, sensitive Finus Bates watches the girl of his dreams, Birdie Wells, marry a more determined suitor, the shallow but ardent earl Urquhart. That leaves Bates to marry Birdie's best friend, Avis Crossweatherly, and both marriages fail miserably as Watson tracks his two would-be lovers through the years. At 16, Birdie is a victim of her slick husband's infidelity, which starts when he finds her sexually inadequate and turns his attention to other women, until he finally falls in love with a woman living in a nearby town. Bates, meanwhile, realizes that Avis has engineered Birdie's marriage, leaving Bates vulnerable to her own rapacious pursuit. To escape his shrewish wife, he immerses himself in his work on his smalltown newspaper, where he pens eloquent obituaries ("Disappointments flock to us like crows," he writes in one). Watson's subordinate characters - including the compassionate town mortician, whose first experience of death involves necrophilia; former slave, medicine woman and midwife Aunt Vish, who knows all the dark secrets of the community; Creasie, a taciturn maid - are observed with cool irony and invested with humanity. Several deaths punctuate the narrative, and casual, virulent racism is rampant, sometimes balanced by a grudging interracial respect. Watson's prose is lush and sometimes a bit too orotund and faux-Faulknerian, but it fits the narrative theme of metamorphoses from one life to another, from earth to a land beyond.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top customer reviews
In fact, if I'd seen it at a bookstore, I'd have passed it up because of the back cover blurbs -- they made it sound like a writer's book more than a reader's book. It's not. The writing's good, sure, but never so pretty that it takes you out of the book, makes you remember you're reading.
You'll be glad you read this book. It won't change your life, but it *will* add to your enjoyment of it.
It's one of those books that will make you smile and cry and be glad that there are people who look at things differently and who have the talent to share their vision and experience.