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Quite a Year for Plums: A Novel Paperback – April 6, 1999
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Bailey White's dry, low-key drawl is a familiar (and welcome) sound to millions of National Public Radio regulars. On the radio, her intimate vignettes of small-town life are loosely held together by their subjects, who are themselves tightly held together by love, family, and idiosyncrasy. This episodic mode suits her just as well as a novelist. In this audio version of Quite a Year for Plums--which, aside from the occasional bit of atmospheric banjo music, features none but the author's voice--even the temporary denizens of her fictional southern Georgia town have their oddities. A bird artist is obsessed by a vanishing breed of chickens. Another character dreams obsessively of typography. The permanent townsfolk include a woman who believes in little spacemen, a pair of bookish retired schoolteachers, and plant pathologist and banjo picker Roger Meadows, whose peers would like nothing better than to see him settle down with the right woman. The author has an eye--and, of course, ear--for the telling detail and the decisive, domestic moment, and listeners will no doubt enjoy her adept storytelling skills. (Running time: five and one-half hours, four cassettes) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
National Public Radio essayist White's raspy voice is so distinctive that no one else could narrate this, her first novel. Rather than tell us about her relatives and neighbors, as she does in her radio stories, White introduces us to a group of people who could well be her kin. In a series of vignettes, we meet Roger, plant pathologist and peanut virologist, whose well-being is the subject of much concern on the part of retired schoolteachers Hilma and Meade. Roger may be falling in love with newcomer Della, an artist who specializes in painting birds, whom he meets because of the explanatory notes she affixes to items she consigns to the town dump ("This fan works, but it makes a clicking sound and will not oscillate."). People in this community treat one another to strong opinions and with loving respect. Outsiders may consider them eccentric, but in their view they are getting through life as they should. The author's humor is gentle, and the listener will smile often during this recording. Recommended for public libraries.ANann Blaine Hilyard, Lake Villa Dist. Lib.,
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
This slim volume has been criticized for lack of plot, but I think the plot is rich and deep. It is not, however, a dramatic, fast-paced, "page turner" type plot. Rather, we are given a glimpse into one year in the life of an extraordinary community. When the year is ended, life in the community goes on, no better and no worse than before, but unfortunately, without an audience to drink it in.
This book is for those who love language, quirkyness, and storytelling that is creative and out of the box. Yes, it's true...there is not "neat and tidy" ending or compelling plot line...but Bailey White paints word pictures that are so beguiling and so rich in their own unique slant of light that this alone makes it worth the time for me. She does what she does best: paint word pictures of the lives of real people (who among us is not our own type of oddball?). This book is a string of delightful, poignant, wonderfully crafted vignettes. And I consider my life richer for having read them.
Those who demand more of Bailey White don't (in my opinion) understand her gifts.