Lucid in execution, breathtaking in scope and heart-rending in effect--a redemptive work of art. . . Lee Smith has done more than write another novel about the South. She has broken through the grotesque surface to the underground spring, the music of Scrabble Creek, and the effect is stunning--a beguiling, gentle prose formed by an honesty so severe we are brought to our knees. . . This novel has a grand and singular purpose, to clothe the spirit with flesh. In this, Lee Smith succeeds." --The Washington Post Book World
Saving Grace (1995) is the story of Florida Grace Shepherd, the 11th child of a traveling evangelist who takes up serpents and gulps strychnine to confirm his faith. But her father's religion terrifies Grace, who says, "I loved Daddy and Momma, but I did not love Jesus"--and that's only one of the many kinds of exile she endures. Like other of Smith heroines, Grace is cut off, not just from Jesus, but from herself, too, and every decision she makes, everything she yearns for, comes to seem like a betrayal of one sort or another. One reviewer wrote that Saving Grace deals with "questions of sin and salvation in a way that invokes the spirit of Flannery O'Connor."
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