Magnolia Song by J. Robert Towery
Magnolia Song is the explosive saga of two Memphis families whose intertwined fates spiral out of control over four generations of heartbreak and renewal. It’s a rollicking gallop of a novel, a stampede over rough terrain, where the absurd leavens a yeasty mix of sin, sacrifice, and redemption, imbuing the least of the characters with an irrepressible dignity.
“It’s not often that a tale this breathtaking manages to sweep up in its headlong trajectory such a gallery of complex, authentic, and utterly mad characters. Nor is it often that such a swift, page-turning narrative can touch such depths and achieve such wisdom along the way. In J. Robert Towery’s Magnolia Song, the South is a carnival of comedy, danger, and heartbreak. The book is a flat-out wonder.” — Steve Stern
“The first comparison that came to mind when I read Magnolia Song was Balzac. We almost never see novels of whole societies anymore, but this is one on a grand scale. The full complexity of the new South isn’t well understood, even by the people who live there—it’s too new, too big. Yet here it is, widescreen. More than breadth, Magnolia Song has depth. Its interweaving stories are all rooted in a philosophic consciousness of history, particularly in its treatment of race relations. On that delicate subject this novel embodies both a cool distance and a compassionate intimacy. When hatred appears, as it must, it hits with a jolt. As for plain old story, this is one of those novels that grabs you and doesn’t let go.” — Thomas McNamee