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The View from Delphi [Hardcover]

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Item description for The View from Delphi by Jonathan Odell...

Two young mothers have each lost a child, but they overcome their racial differences to bring about justice in a pre-Civil Rights Mississippi town.

Publishers Description
Set in pre-Civil Rights Mississippi, The View From Delphi is the story of two young mothers, Hazel and Vida - one wealthy and white and the other poor and black - who have only two things in common - the devastating loss of their children, and a deep and abiding loathing for one another.
Embittered and distrusting, Vida is harassed by Delphi's racist sheriff and haunted by the son she lost to the world. Hazel, too, has lost a son and can't keep a grip on her fractured life. After drunkenly crashing her car into a manger scene, gunning for the baby Jesus, Hazel is sedated and bed-ridden. Hazel's husband hires Vida to keep tabs on his unpredictable wife. Forced to spend time together with no one else to rely on, the two women find they have more in common than they thought and together they turn the town on its head.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   330
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.75" Width: 6.25" Height: 9"
Weight:   1.8 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jun 1, 2004
Publisher   MacAdam/Cage
ISBN  1931561680  
ISBN13  9781931561686  

Availability  0 units.

More About Jonathan Odell

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Jonathan Odell is the author of two novels, the critically acclaimed The Healing (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, 2012), which was called "required reading" by The New York Post, a "storytelling tour de force" by the Associated Press, and was compared by critics to both Toni Morrison's Beloved and Kathryn Stockett's The Help; and his debut novel, The View from Delphi (MacAdam/Cage, 2004), recently updated and republished as Miss Hazel and the Rosa Parks League, which is receiving glorious praise from the press and readers alike. Odell was born and raised in Mississippi. His short stories and essay have appeared in numerous collections. A highly regarded public speaker and leadership coach, he now resides in Minnesota.

Jonathan Odell currently resides in the state of Minnesota. Jonathan Odell was born in 1951.

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Product Categories

1Books > Bargain Books
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Literary
4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Historical

Reviews - What do customers think about The View from Delphi?

Sad it was over  Apr 25, 2005
I was so happy to order this book after reading a review of it in our Sunday paper. I was sad to finish reading it this weekend because the prose, character development, and story was so addictive. It was so "ordinary" of a plot that it was easy to get sucked in, like they were people in your community or friends. There was no fluff or unrealistic events. It was truly a "slice of life". Something that happens to others, the joy of finding friends in places you didn't imagine, the harsh reality of what the South. I grew up in the South and this is so true to life. That slow paced way of unfolding time and life around you - letting it do the work and you just sit back and let it happen. I hope he writes more. I loved it!!!!
Fabulous Book  Mar 14, 2005
The View from Delphi has become one of my favorite books. It's a beautiful story of two women in Mississippi in the 1950's who start off in conflict because of their relationship (one is a black maid and the other is the white employer's wife) but end up as real friends. It is funny, serious, sad, and downright inspirational. As a native Mississippian, I appreciated the honesty of Odell's story and the artful way he developed the characters, both white and black, in an even-handed manner. I truly think Odell is destined to be a great southern writer.
A member of my book club chose this book and I took it with me on vacation. I was thinking I was going to "struggle" through it since it wasn't the typical quick-light vacation read!


I couldn't put this book down. Every night, while cruising the Mediterranean I couldn't wait to read this book!! It is a true reflection of the attitudes of the south, and conveys the subtle dynamics between people. I was transported from my cruise to the south!!

This book is one of our all-time favorites...we have also loved reading Barbara Kingsolver- The Poisinwood Bible, The Red Tent, The Lovely Bones, Anna Karinana, White Oleander, Memoirs of a Geisha, etc.

The View From Delphi stands up to all of these in a mesmorizing and memorable manner! ENJOY!!!
Story Telling At Its Best!  Jul 1, 2004
As I contemplate the dizzying pace at which most of us race through our everyday lives, I am grateful to Jon Odell for giving me pause to deeply breathe in the richness of this poetic and profoundly inspired novel. Jon Odell is simply a masterful story teller! He ranks among a dying breed of writers who are gifted and thoughtful enough to tell the stories of ordinary people in a way that intimately and vicariously takes us to where they are while introducing us to ourselves. Nowhere is this more needed than in human relationships across racial stratifications.

I am so incredibly excited about this book because although set in pre-Civil rights Mississippi it is not just about the south. It poignantly tells the untold story of race in America through the intriguing lives and relationship of two complicated heroines, one white and one black, (As an African American this is refreshing to me because rarely have I read a book by a white author in which there is a black main character who is not being rescued by benevolent white characters). By honestly and vividly telling their stories-as well as a whole cast of provocative characters, Jon Odell has invited us all into a honest dialogue about our own race stories, our relationships across race, and ultimately our shared history and future as Americans. I guarantee you that, "The View From Delphi," will make you laugh, weep, and think deeply no matter what your race. Enjoy!!

A contrast in black and white  Jun 1, 2004
After running away from her poverty-stricken, hardscrabble family life in the rugged Appalachia mountains, Hazel Ishee finds employment in a drug store, until she meets her future husband, a young man from a similar background, with dreams of his own. The industrious Floyd sells machinery all over the Mississippi Delta, eventually realizing his aspirations, when he moves his family into the upper-class neighborhood he covets, anxious to belong in that society. Meanwhile, Hazel struggles with overwhelming feeling of inadequacy that leaches the enjoyment from her comfortable days. Even their two sons cannot relieve Hazel`s downward spiral, which is only alleviated by the alcohol she drinks excessively. The drinking brings a whole new set of problems for a woman unprepared to deal with a successful marriage and comfortable lifestyle.

Vida's disillusionment is of another kind. A young girl from a prominent black Delta family, Vida gives birth at fifteen to the child of a white man, tormented by her sense of disgrace she brings to her family. Vida's father is the local preacher, full of fine words, until faced with the reality of his daughter's illegitimate child. When the biological father of Vida's baby is appointed sheriff he wants the child out of sight, afraid of the damage to his reputation and his political aspirations. Vida's family's fortunes fail and she is haunted by the loss of her baby. She and her brother are forced to work the land they once lived on.

The years pass, and Vida is hired as a maid to the incompetent Hazel, who has also lost a son; Vida's primary duty is giving Hazel the medication that sends her spoiled charge spinning into oblivion every morning, yet the two women's mutual need is the closest thing either has to friendship. Hazel's remaining son lurks in the shadows, spying on Vida and yearning for the attentions of his self-absorbed mother.

Author Odell concocts enough twists and turns to stand the Mason-Dixon Line on its head as Civil Rights comes to the South; just as the movement begins with Rosa Parks' rebellion, circumstances shift in subtle ways for Vida and Hazel and the two enemies eye each other warily, establishing a shaky friendship. Bone-tired and heartsick, each of them has struggled alone for far too long. Their strange relationship turns into an unexpected bonus for women who are unused to friendship or trust.

The View from Delphi is well-intentioned, with liberal use of local dialect and the colorful phrasing of the Delta, as well as the fallout from years of racial abuse and discrimination. Reminiscent of Tademy's Cane River, this novel has the same folksy dialog, if a few too many too many rambling conversations. Doubtless, this novel will have a popular following, with its unusual assortment of eccentric characters and the historical import of the Civil Rights movement. Luan Gaines/2004.


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