141 E Trinity Place
Decatur, Georgia 30030

In The Prudent Mariner, Leslie Walker Williams offers a searing exploration of the legacies of complicity and violence, silence and regret, and the unforeseeable ways the past shapes and impinges upon the present. In 1913 a young white girl in coastal Georgia fabricates a romance between her elder sister and an African American laborer, inadvertently leading to the man's lynching. A crowd gathers and a photographer records the event on picture postcards. In one of these, the young girl stands smiling beside the hanged man. More than fifty years later, nine-year-old Riddley Cross discovers these postcards amid her late grandfather's belongings. As she tries to make sense of why the postcards are in her family's possession, and why the photographed girl seems so familiar, Riddley becomes haunted by apparitions and dreams of lynchings. The postcards force her to question what she has been taught about the world, the South, and her family--and what she has not. The mysteries of the lynching postcards start to unravel after her widowed grandmother, Adele, moves in with the family. Afflicted with Alzheimer's disease, Adele speaks only to murmur the occasional insult or curse. Nonetheless, she and Riddley become companions of a sort, based largely on their common affinity for silence, wandering, and the nearby river. When Riddley develops a friendship with her neighbor Carver, an artist and iconoclast, the connections between the postcards and Riddley's family gradually come to light, and a series of tragic events begins to unfold. This book is Williams' first novel and won the Peter Taylor Prize.

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Added by Wordsmiths Books on September 19, 2008

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