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Joshua and Christophe are twins, raised by a blind grandmother and a large extended family in a rural town on Mississippi s Gulf Coast. They ve just finished high school and need to find jobs, but in a failing post-Katrina economy, it s not easy. Joshua gets work on the docks, but Christophe s not so lucky. Desperate to alleviate the family s poverty, he starts to sell drugs. He can hide it from his grandmother but not his twin, and the two grow increasingly estranged. Christophe s downward spiral is accelerated first by crack, then by the reappearance of the twins parents: Cille, who abandoned them, and Sandman, a creepy, predatory addict. Sandman taunts Christophe, eventually provoking a shocking confrontation that will ultimately damn or save both twins. Ward inhabits these characters, and this world black Creole, poor, and drug-riddled, yet shored by family and community to a rare degree, without a trace of irony or distance."

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781932841381
ISBN-10: 1932841385
Format: Paperback
(224mm x 147mm x 23mm)
Imprint: Agate Publishing
Publisher: Agate Publishing
Publish Date: 6-Nov-2008
Country of Publication: United States

Reviews

US Kirkus Review » Blues on the bayou, and blood to boot.The piney woods of southern Mississippi aren't much of a place. Everyone knows everyone's business, nobody has enough to do, and in between hurricanes there's only trouble to get into. Ward's first novel opens with Christophe and Joshua DeLisle, fraternal twins, preparing to jump into the swirling waters of a muddy river - to cool off, not to kill themselves. It's a portentous moment, for just as each will jump differently, so will their lives take a different course. Caring for an ailing grandmother and just out of high school, the boys are holding their own in this backwater world until temptation presents itself: Joshua finds himself with some folding money after finding a job on the wharves, Christophe with yet more folding money after he takes up selling a little weed after not finding licit work. Danger insinuates itself in the form of the boys' long-absent father, a bad actor with a mean drug habit who likes stronger blends than Christophe has to sell, and the story thenceforth takes turns that can be seen coming from a long way off. Ward's plotting is predictable, but her story is closely observed, full of telling details: "Christophe had fallen asleep in the middle of counting his money, and was stretched out with his arms thrown over his head as if he had been surprised, his mouth open, the bills ragged and bunched underneath him." The author, a native of the Mississippi coast, serves up a world that has been little depicted: the rural African-American South, a place of grinding poverty but enduring loyalties, tragic but somehow noble at the same time.A promising debut. (Kirkus Reviews)


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