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My Brother Michael
A Novel by Janis Owens
Out of the shotgun houses and deep, shaded porches of a West Florida mill town comes this extraordinary novel of love and redemption as told by revisionist historian Gabriel Catts. On the eve of his fortieth birthday Gabe takes his own history in hand in an attempt to reconcile a family shattered by his betrayal of his older brother, Michael. As Gabe contends with a host of personal demons, he recounts his lifelong love for his brothers wife, Myrawhose own demons threaten to overwhelm all three of them. Circumstance and passion push them all beyond the moral boundaries of their close-knit Baptist community, but it is within the restrictions of their family ties and Southern culture that they rediscover the paths of salvation.
Gabe recalls their childhood lives in the poor neighborhood called Magnolia Hill, when their tranquil days of church picnics and porch gossip were spiked with a tragedy too evil to name. While Gabe escapes to academe in the Northeast fleeing the poverty and inertia of their mill-town upbringing, Michael remains at home and manages to become an important person in the community. Gabe is drawn home time and again, but the events of his return in the troubled summer of 1974 threaten even years later to rip the family asunder. Through it all, Gabes immovable love for Myra serves as the focus of this intimate view of a Southern family.
A luminously written first novel . . . a refreshingly different take on fraternal rivalry. Kirkus Reviews
Owens fine writing and the ring of her natural voice will carry readers along like a tale told on a porch on a sultry Southern night. Publishers Weekly
Janis Owens has written a heartfelt and poignant novel rooted in the beauty and sorrow of ordinary lives. Connie May Fowler
Of all the novels written about families, very few have been able to make the reader blood kin. My Brother Michael does this, in depth and power. To an almost worked-out tradition Janis Owens brings an astonishing renewal. James Dickey
These pages sing with an energy that is rare and wonderful. Janis Owens has found her voice in My Brother Michael, and that voice is strong and true and all her own. My sincere hope is that this book finds the audience it so richly deserves. Harry Crews
This is Janis Owens first novel. She was born in a small town in the Florida panhandle, daughter of a preacher-turned-insurance-salesman whose job took his family to live in New Orleans and Hattiesburg, Mississippi, before returning to north Florida. The author was greatly influenced by her grandmother, a poet and noted reformer in Marianna, Florida, who raised her on storytelling everything from Bible stories to Aesops fables. She earned a degree in English with a specialization in Southern history at the University of Florida and continues to reside in rural North Florida with her husband and three daughters.
Hardbound $18.95 ISBN 1-56164-124-3
Size: 6 x 9 304 Pages
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