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The Wreck of Twilight Limited [Hardcover]

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Item description for The Wreck of Twilight Limited by Joe Formichella...

The Wreck of Twilight Limited by Joe Formichella

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Item Specifications...

Pages   220
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8" Width: 5.2" Height: 1.3"
Weight:   1.1 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jul 6, 2004
Publisher   MacAdam/Cage
ISBN  1931561672  
ISBN13  9781931561679  

Availability  0 units.

More About Joe Formichella

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Joe Formichella is a Hackney Literary Award winner and Pushcart Prize nominee whose work has appeared in Grassland Review, Red Bluff Review, and anthologized in Stories from the Blue Moon Cafe II and Climbing Mt. Cheaha. He is the author of The Wreck of the Twilight Limited, a novel, and Here's to You, Jackie Robinson, an historical account of the all-black Prichard Mohawks, an amateur baseball team formed in the 1950s, that shows how those young players succeeded despite the degradations and persecutions of the Jim Crow South. He lives in Fairhope, Alabama.

Joe Formichella currently resides in Fairhope. Joe Formichella was born in 1955.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Literary

Reviews - What do customers think about The Wreck of Twilight Limited?

Overly Complex Book from a First-Time Author  Jan 16, 2007
The Wreck of the Twilight Limited is an interesting book by a first-time novelist. Joe Formichella adds fictionalized narrative and storylines to a real-life event, combining fact with fiction in an effective and gripping story. The book is relatively short, though probably too long to qualify as a novella, and it is a quick read. The character development is reasonably good, the action sequences are real and believable, and the drama unfolds with a suspenseful flair. Unfortunately, the book is hampered by some confusing organization and too many characters. There is lots of unnecessary profanity, and lots of unnecessary sexuality, including multiple scenes involving female homosexuality that has no bearing on the story and seems to have been included merely as a means of making the book appeal to a sex-starved audience.

The Wreck of the Twilight Limited tells the true story of an Amtrak train that plunged off a bridge deep in the Alabama bayou on September 22, 1993. Forty-seven people were killed in the tragedy; Joe Formichella tells their story.
The story takes place in two time periods. In one storyline, we ride along with the passengers on the ill-fated train. In the other, we meet people interested in the accident for various reasons five years later. Switching back and forth between 1993 and 1998, we discover the author's version of what happened that foggy night and the long-term repercussions of the events.

The book's main weakness is its confusing layout. Although writing in two time periods is an effective way to show readers what happened on the train while also giving an after-the-fact objective look at the scenario, the multitude of characters in each reality becomes impossible to keep up with. The train storyline has four main characters: a doctor and a writer riding on the train, the driver of the tugboat that inadvertently causes the accident by bumping in the bridge, and a firefighting captain who leads the rescue effort. These characters and well developed and interesting, and if the bulk of the story was content to follow their interactions and relationships, the book would be stronger. The storyline that takes place five years later has many more characters, many of them with similar names that become difficult to remember and keep track of. The most effective character in this storyline is a rescue worker who is still haunted by the sights and sounds of that night five years later. Far less workable characters include the family of the tugboat driver, the truant officer who for some reason becomes interested in investigating the wreck, and the mysterious person hiding in the woods near the scene of the accident. Several loose ends are never properly addressed, and the story all but falls apart in the middle until the action of the crash scene at the end takes over and makes the rest of the book worthwhile.

I enjoyed the book and found it difficult to stop reading after I finally began to figure out which characters were living in which time period and how they were all related to each other. The scope of the story was a little too ambitious for this first-time novelist, but the details of the story are impressive. Formichella does an admirable job of describing the various settings in his book; his descriptions are vivid and real and never boring or droning. I would have some difficulty recommending the book to others based on its high profanity and sexual content, however.

It's unfortunate that the book doesn't seem to have any overriding message or purpose other than describing what happened to the Twilight Limited. None of the characters displays any spiritual dimension, and no moral or uplifting undercurrent is evident. Other than the sheer entertainment value, which is diminished by the multiple layers of the story, there is no compelling reason to read the book. Nevertheless, it is enjoyable, and Formichella displays promise as a historical fiction writer. Once he figures out that a book doesn't have to be complex in order to be good, his novels will be easier and more fun to read.
a first novel shimmering with beauty  Sep 5, 2004
In this first novel, Formichella writes with all the senses. One can almost smell the cypress or suffer real pangs of heartache as the story of a train wreck takes the reader into lives so sympathetically portrayed that the age-old adage: "I didn't want the book to end" rings entirely true. Well-wrought, with honesty, grace and tenderness, The Wreck of the Twilight Limited is as good as it gets in fiction. If you're tired of bland writing, Formichella's book is the cure. Do yourself a favor and buy this book.
An assignation with fate  Sep 4, 2004
Behind every tragedy is a human face, as families lose loved ones and the immediate area is strewn with carnage that challenges the resources of the rescue personnel who deal with the consequences of such events.

At 5:23 am, September 22, 1993, Amtrak's Twilight Limited derailed at Bayou Canot in Mobile, Alabama, killing forty-seven people as it sped across a bridge that was seriously damaged by a passing barge. On that fog-shrouded night, with virtually no visibility, the river traffic moved sluggishly, the great barges that ran incessantly up and down the river drifting blindly, the boatloads of goods intended for consumers, as regular as clockwork.

When one of the barges slid into the bridge, the men felt the impact but had no way of knowing what they hit, certainly never imagining that it was a bridge. Nor could the Amtrak engineer know what to expect, guided by instruments long become routine, hurling through the night into tragedy.

Trapped by the convergence of fate and timing that resulted in the aberrant crash of barge into bridge, the Amtrak flew across the bridge into disaster. Immediately, the men on the closest barges launched a rescue effort to save those thrashing about in the freezing water and clinging to remnants of the train. Soon after, the media descended upon the scene, their spotlights casting an eerie glow over the scene.

First time novelist Formichella chose to highlight the human aspect of the disaster, the man at the wheel of the barge, certain passengers on the train and a fireman from the emergency crew sent in the aftermath with faint hopes of finding survivors. The man piloting the barge that night hadn't asked for the assignment was in fact uncomfortable manning the wheel in the fog; his life was shattered by the nightmare that changed his world in a split second. Some of the passengers were just beginning their lives, people we met and remembered for their little eccentricities, lost forever, while other inexplicably survived. Most touching is the fireman who tried so desperately to save the victims, haunted by the sights that he witnessed, the chaos imprinted night after night in his dreams.

The author felt this was a story that must be told; he chose to do so in novel form in order to capture the human element, the natural, ungoverned responses to a life-changing event. In so doing, Formichella has given this tragedy the face of humanity. A reminder of our inevitable vulnerability to fate, the author also takes notice of the emotional remnants of such disasters, the broken hearts and lives that must carry the sad memories of a horrendous accident, an occasion of incredible, if unremarked, acts of heroism. Luan Gaines/2004.

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