Item description for In the Dark of the Moon by Suzanne Hudson...
In 1962, in Albany, Georgia, Martin Luther King, Jr., tries and fails in his first attempts at nonviolent resistance. Rural churches harboring voter registration workers are routinely torched by Night Riders. Ku Klux Klan activities are at a peak, and law enforcement is often an accomplice.
Kansas Lacey is twelve years old, intensely curious about a world she devours through National Geographic magazines and endless questions for the adults in her life. She has lived near Albany in Sumner, Georgia, with her grandparents and their hired help, since her mother's suicide years earlier. The Lacey family is prominent and respected, but riddled with an unspoken history of insanity, repression, addiction, and violence. Kansas catalogues these secrets as she uncovers them, determined to find out where she came from and why her mother killed herself.
With a big heart and an unflinching eye, Suzanne Hudson has given us a powerful coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of the dawning Civil Rights movement; the story of a girl who believes that in piecing together her history she will somehow figure out who she wants to become.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.7" Width: 6.3" Height: 1.6" Weight: 1.7 lbs.
Release Date May 1, 2005
ISBN 1931561907 ISBN13 9781931561907
Availability 0 units.
More About Suzanne Hudson
Suzanne Hudson has taught college English for 15 years, including courses in theatre, playwriting, literature, and composition. She has written three college composition textbooks: WRITING ABOUT THEATRE AND DRAMA, THE ART OF WRITING ABOUT ART, and THINKING AND WRITING IN THE HUMANITIES.
Suzanne Hudson currently resides in Fairhope. Suzanne Hudson was born in 1953 and has an academic affiliation as follows - University of Southern California, USA.
Reviews - What do customers think about In the Dark of the Moon?
(4.5) "Now look what you've done" May 29, 2005
Hudson's latest foray into the gothic South is masterful, a riveting tale of family secrets and lost daughters, what may well be a classic novel. The Lacey family has long enjoyed the privacy of money and privilege. Old Campbell Lacey is the family patriarch, often at odds with his wife, Lucille. Camp Lacey, the sheriff of Sumner, Georgia, voices the typical sentiment of the Southern male, superior and capricious in dealing with the blacks who tend to the family's needs. Jack Lacey, Camp's son and heir, lives without the distortions of prejudice that have so warped old man Lacey's thinking. A deputy sheriff, Jack has his hands full with a chronically depressed wife, Pearl, an unhappy woman who indulges daily in an excess of peach brandy, ignoring her daughter, Elizabeth.
The conscientious Elizabeth carries the world on her shoulders, turning to her Bible for solace in a house of shadows, where propriety is paramount and affection is incidental. Given to the emotional extremes of her mother, Elizabeth is unstrung by violence of any kind, blaming herself for every injustice. A teen when World War II breaks out, Elizabeth is precocious and flirtatious. She loves to dance, unaware of the consequences of her provocative sexuality, devoting herself to entertaining the troops in service clubs. Invariably, Elizabeth falls in love with a con man more than willing to fulfill her romantic fantasies. On one fateful night, Elizabeth has an assignation with this man, an encounter that will leave her pregnant and lead to an unspeakable act that taints the town for years to come.
Kansas Lacey enjoys her mother's love for only a few years, as Elizabeth barely clings to sanity, finally unable to continue with the anguish of her daily life. It is Kansas who is the beneficiary of the household servants, the women who so carefully tended the fragile and unraveling Elizabeth. Kansas reaches out to Pinky, Eula Lura's mother, now dying of cancer. Eula Lura, the Lacey family cook, bears the weight of Ned's death, her devoted husband who was lynched, his body found mutilated one foul morning after a midnight fishing trip. Eula Lura knows the identity of the murderer, holding that information close to her heart, waiting for the time to set things right. It is Pinky who reaches out to Kansas, recognizing the same despair as in her mother's eyes.
On the cusp of the desegregation movement, the swaggering white men of Sumner brag of their exploits, the Ku Klux Klan blooming in the threat-laden atmosphere. It is in the midst of radical change that Kansas pieces together the fragments of her mother's life, the teasing, girlish insouciance that serves as a catalyst for so much violence, the Lacey family's murky past and the promise of a different future: "Kansas would think back on Southern Georgia's gathering swell of violence, when Schwerner, Goodman and Cheney ended up dead in the morally desolate Mississippi of Emmit Till's final summer."
In beautiful, studied prose, Hudson weaves a web of insidious evil that permeates Sumner through these historic years, the characters subtle and complicated, caught in the changing tides of history and their conflicted belief systems. Through Elizabeth's desperate struggle to accommodate a failing mind and her daughter's quest for connection, the strong, brown arms of their caretakers hold both girls tight, whispering of love and acceptance, enduring their own broken hearts and unredeemable wrongs. Hudson has written a powerful Southern novel of the coexistence of good and evil, the heart of darkness confronted by decency and the birth of freedom. Luan Gaines/2005.
A Brilliant Novel Of The Deep South - Beautifully Written! May 29, 2005
Set in southwest Georgia during the 1940's, 50's, and 60's, "In The Dark Of The Moon" is the story of a woman's grace and her madness, a child's quest, and a family's secrets. It is also a tale of revenge. Underlying all, however, is the brutal racism endemic to the Deep South during that period, and the hope of change brought by the burgeoning civil rights movement.
Emmitt Till, a fourteen year-old black boy from Chicago was visiting relatives in Mississippi during the summer of 1955. He was shot in the head, after being brutally beaten, for allegedly whistling at a white woman. Elizabeth Lacey killed herself that same summer, unable to bear the pain caused by the myriad of cruel images which flooded her mind. She left behind her precocious five year-old daughter, Kansas.
Elizabeth, bold and honest, as she had vowed to be when just a young girl, had long been the "family emergency" no one wanted to confront head-on. The "broth of the family's bloodlines," tinged with insanity, had threatened to boil over since her adolescence, when her gaiety became fevered and her sadness profound. Her mind, camera-like, would take snapshots, moments frozen in time, and file them away for later viewing. Elizabeth was unable to protect herself from the "bad images of the world:" the death of FDR, who once waved and smiled at the three year-old little girl from a passing car; photographs of concentration camp victims; Hiroshima and Nagasaki; a devastating betrayal which occurred on the night of her first high school dance; the violent lynching of an innocent black man she had unwittingly caused; the heinous murder of Emmitt Till which brought back all the pain.
Kansas Lacey, now twelve, has been raised by her extended family: her grandparents, the emotionally fragile and very distant, Miss Pearl, and Daddy Jack, the Sheriff of Sumner; Miss Lucille, called Grandemona, her great-grandmother; Aunt Francis, always Elizabeth's confidant, who now wants to take on that same role for Kansas; the beloved Pinky, a black woman who had cared for Elizabeth when she was too ill to function, and then became a mother figure to the child, after her mother's suicide. The Lacey's, a dysfunctional bunch of folks, were unable to honestly answer the precocious child's endless questions about her parents and the past. They thrived on half-truths, euphemisms and omissions. As Kansas grew older, she was left to learn by the impressions she garnered and her own sleuth work, the results of which she kept locked away in her diary. She is not the only one working to bring the facts surrounding Elizabeth Lacey's death into the open. By Kansas' thirteenth year, all the evil and violence which had been hidden and repressed about the prominent Lacey family of Sumner Georgia, will come to light, and the daughter will finally learn that her mother "was solid and brave, in spite of the unwinding spiral of her mind and the poise of a pistol barrel at her temple."
Suzanne Hudson has created unforgettably powerful characters, whose voices will remain with the reader long after they complete "In The Dark Of The Moon." The author is from a small town in southwest Georgia, where her grandfather, and great-grandfather before him, were county sheriffs. Her insight into the psychological and social make-up of life in the South is made even more credible because of her personal background and experience. The narrative is fast paced, taut and incredibly moving at times. The plot and subplots are riveting - I was unable to put the novel down. And Ms. Hudson's descriptions, bring the southern landscape to life, especially that of her much loved Lake Blackshear. Her depiction of the dark side of the Velvet Corridor is chilling. I highly recommend this extraordinary novel, compelling fiction from a most talented writer. JANA