Thursday, May 30, 2013

Falling to Earth

The Tri-State Tornado of 1925--which traveled 219 miles, spent more than three hours on the ground, devastated 164 square miles, had a diameter of more than a mile, and traveled at speeds in excess of 70 mph--is unsurpassed in U.S. history. History Channel: This Day in History
This is the event on which Kate Southerland builds her stunning and unnerving debut novel. Her story begins on March 18, 1925 in fictional Marah, Illinois where Paul Graves, age 35, is enjoying a contented life he has built with his wife Mae.  Former high-school football star, father of three young children, devoted son and owner of thriving Graves Lumber, Paul seems to have it all. And that is exactly what the residents of Marah soon realize after the twister devastates every home and every family BUT the Graves. Southerland’s novel takes a careening path through the lives of the Graves and Marah residents, turning the tables on who are the victims and who are the survivors. This novel made me realize just how tedious our daily lives would become if we either had no place to claim as home or if our home is in the midst of destruction. A great novel for discussion and timely too.

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