Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Saints in Limbo by River Jordan


Ever since her husband, Joe, died, Velma True's world has been limited to what she can see while clinging to one of the multicolored threads tied to the porch railing of her rural home outside Echo, Florida.

Then one day a stranger appears at her door. Without knowing why, the agoraphobic widow welcomes him into her kitchen for coffee while she tells him stories of how life used to be, before her purposes were "all dried up." Just before disappearing as suddenly as he came, the man presents Velma with a special gift, one that allows her to literally step back into the past through her own memories to a place where Joe still lives and the beginning is closer than the end.
While Velma is consumed with the man's gift, her son Rudy is also being presented with a challenge to his self-centered, complacent lifestyle. And a teenage girl winds her way to Echo, determined to unravel the mysteries her dead mother left behind. As secrets old and new come to light, Velma finds herself unmoored from the fears of the past and feeling her way toward freedom.

This lyrical, Southern novel weaves mystical elements with tangible touches of God's redemptive grace to reveal a pattern of irresistible hope.


I read the first 100 pages and felt disoriented and confused. Sorry.

There is some beautiful prose, but you can skip entire sections of this novel and still get the "message" (such as it is) by the end of the novel. There are some very well-hidden nuggets of truth, but overall I got the feeling that it was about a couple of old women whose minds had gone round the bend, and a young man who wished his mind would follow the same trail. I could never figure out exactly what element of faith the author was trying to visit, and the supernatural element made the entire book feel insincere and very contrived.

This WAS NOT a novel of choice for me, and certainly not a book I'd pick to represent the South or Southern writers. Make up your own mind...you can check out the book here.


River Jordan is a critically acclaimed novelist and playwright whose unique mixture of southern and mystic writing has drawn comparisons to Sarah Addison Allen, Leif Enger, and Flannery O’Connor. Her previous works include The Messenger of Magnolia Street, lauded by Kirkus Reviews as “a beautifully written, atmospheric tale.” She speaks around the country and makes her home in Nashville.

1 comment:

Mocha with Linda said...

My review is still in limbo. :-)