Item description for One Fell Swoop by Virginia Boyd...
Overview The aftershocks of a murder-suicide resonate through a small town where everybody knows everybody else's business. By turns hilarious and poignant, this daring, debut novel begins with the violent end of a marriage. A local wife-and-mother has killed her husband after finding him in the midst of an affair. Each chapter, written from a different community member's point of view, shows the ripple effect of that dramatic event and how it has affected the townspeople differently - some directly and others less so, but all meaningfully and irrevocably. As the novel progresses, the narrative spirals inward until the stories of those most intimately involved are ultimately revealed.
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Studio: Thomas Nelson
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.3" Width: 6.3" Height: 1.3" Weight: 1.15 lbs.
Release Date Oct 1, 2007
Publisher Thomas Nelson
ISBN 1595543996 ISBN13 9781595543998
Reviews - What do customers think about One Fell Swoop?
Gifted writer but a lacking plot Sep 30, 2008
How does a murder-suicide of a well-known couple in a small town affect all of the residents? In her first novel, Virginia Boyd sets out to examine how one shocking event can have a ripple effect throughout the community.
One Fell Swoop opens with a resident of Riley, North Carolina in 1977 reflecting on the murder/suicide of Michael Clayton and his wife Regina. She shot him and then herself shortly after. Everyone wants to know how that kind of thing could have happened in their town. Why did she do it? Everyone has their version of the story, shares how it affected their life, and speculates what could have triggered Mrs. Clayton's actions.
Boyd is a skillful writer who effectively creates numerous characters and writes in each character's unique voice. She uses each point of view to examine a new facet of the Claytons' lives. While this may be an interesting approach, it lacks the opportunity for true character development. And, many times, it seems as though the vignette does not advance the main plot. Just as the reader is getting to know a character and becoming familiar with that voice, the chapter ends, and Boyd moves on to another character at another point in time.
Boyd is incredibly gifted at constructing each scenario, but perhaps Boyd could have chosen a handful of perspectives to explore more fully to leave the reader more satisfied. As it stands now, each new chapter brings a new set of circumstances, and, in many cases, a whole new world with which to become acquainted. While her writing ability is undeniable, Boyd would serve her readers well by giving us a well-developed plot with characters we can love and follow throughout the story.
A cool drink of water after a long dry spell May 27, 2008
I have been searching for a long time for that great novel, the one filled with wonderful sentences and characters that draw you in, make you want to read slowly, and re-read slowly to make the story last. I've been looking for a Grand Canyon of a book, a book that takes your breath away, a book that is the read of a lifetime, a book that you want to hike down into and stay awhile so that you can touch it and feel it and savor it. I finally found all of that in Virgina Boyd's first novel, One Fell Swoop. I found myself reading and re-reading, because I loved her writing so much. I carried her characters with me throughout the day, because of the way each of their stories haunted me. I am already reading it again. I look forward to hearing from Virginia Boyd again soon.
Great Book Club Read!!! Dec 15, 2007
Our book club recently selected One Fell Swoop as our monthly read, as we are always on the lookout for the next great Southern writer. Ms. Boyd did not disappoint, and the discussion at our meeting was never more lively.
Like many book clubs, we tend to start out strong with a hearty discussion of our monthly selection and the talk soon moves on to local events. Yet, One Fell Swoop held its own and held center stage throughout the meeting, quite an impressive happening for our group. Each of us either connected with one of Ms. Boyd's characters and championed their point of view or took a strong stand in the opposite direction.
We were most impressed with the layered imagery and trials that each of her characters endured on their own individual paths to some type of personal redemption.
We highly recommend One Fell Swoop as a book club selection to other clubs and will be looking forward to Virginia Boyd's next work.
A great new talent discovered Nov 3, 2007
If you have ever been part of a circle of close friends, neighbors, or relatives, you will love this book. The characters and events could have easily existed in the small town where I was raised. Virginia Boyd developed each character so real and deeply that I felt like they were talking directly to me and I was inside their heads. I smiled and cried and couldn't put down the book. I always enjoying discovering new talented authors and can't wait for the next book from Virginia Boyd.
doesn't quite work Oct 30, 2007
Southern storytelling can be wonderful, pedestrian, or somewhere in between. Perhaps the greatest of the comtemporary Southern storytellers are T.R. Pearson, with his classic A Short History of a Small Place, and Ferrol Sams, with Down Town and Whisper of the River. These two writers are adept at capturing the cadence and the flavor of the rural and urban South. In One Fell Swoop, some of the stories work well, and others are not as successful. This can, in part, be a matter of timing: for comedy and drama, literature and film, political speeches, etc, getting the timing right is vital. Some of the stories here run much longer than they should for best effect.
The stories here supposedly center around an event--a murder-suicide--and come at it from different angles. But some of these tales feel important to that event, and some seem too peripheral. Some of the people who tell the stories are more believable than others.
In A Short History of a Small Place, the narrator is Louis Benfield, a young boy, and you see events through his eyes. You really feel that you've come to know the small town of Neely, North Carolina and the people who live there. I did not get that same feeling about Riley, N.C. in One Fell Swoop. A Louis Benfield-type single narrator might have worked better here--looking at people through young eyes that are not making judgements, but rather naively recounting people's stories from his or her point of view. There are good signs of potential, so we'll see what this writer has next for us.