In this novel, the narrator assigns every person in her memory to a certain month—and Miss Melba’s memory holds not just twelve, but twelve-squared characters, along with that many more laughs and sobs. Set in a railroad town in south Alabama, this novel carries us through a good deal of the last century, from post World War I boom to The Great Depression, from the shame of the Japanese internment camps to the exultation of V-E and V-J days, from the shame of racism to the pleasure of friendships that overcame that same racism. The characters flow as effortlessly as do the months and the shifts of seasons, and Miss Melba draws these characters so lovingly that we almost feel sorry for even the villains, as her brother Earl comments upon watching Sheriff Simon find what he thinks to be the remains of his beloved dog, skinned. And being somewhat of a villain himself, Brother Earl surprises us with even this momentary compassion. But then, that’s Miss Melba’s final point: we’re all in this show together, for we all live in Terminal Bend.
ISBN 0-942979-73-7, Trade paper, $12.95 Sale $6.50
ISBN 0-942979-74-5, Library binding, $26.00 Sale $13.00
Patricia Mayer is a registered nurse who interned at Chattahoochee Hospital for Criminally Insane in north Florida. She now works at a parochial school in Mobile—a much safer and calmer job, she says.
| Excerpt From the
If you drove
through the patched and rutted streets of Terminal Bend, Alabama, you wouldn't
see what I see because I’m looking through the eyes of living seventy-two years
in the same place. All you’d see is a seedy town with the questionable
distinction of having the most murders in the state, but I remember when
“drive-by” was what we did when we went to see the live Nativity scene out in
front of the Methodist Church. I’ve come to understand the strata of change. I
know that there are layers of history below the line of vision.