Souls Raised from the Dead: A Novel

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Scribner Paperback Fiction, 1994 - Fiction - 339 pages
2 Reviews
At the center of this wonderfully moving novel is a Southern family in crisis - and at the center of the family are a loving father and his daughter, Mary Grace. Mary Grace Thompson is about to turn thirteen, horse-crazy, doted upon by two sets of feuding grandparents - the respectable Thompsons and the trashy Broomes. She lives with her divorced father, Frank, a North Carolina state trooper. It's three years since her mother ran away with the county tax collector - and she hasn't come back, even for a visit. Frank dates, but the center of his universe is his daughter. On the verge of puberty, Mary is just beginning to try her wings - wangling her way into riding lessons, pushing her father toward the beautiful riding instructor, dreaming of boys. She's precariously aware that if she wants she can join the crowd whose grades and looks will take them someplace. Every day on the job, Frank brings calm to other people's catastrophes - from an overturned poultry truck spewing panicked chickens over the highway to fatal accidents. Suddenly, the catastrophe that he feels has been circling his own world since his wife took off comes home to stay. Suddenly, Mary Grace is diagnosed with an incurable disease. Armed with courage, humor, and a shaky faith in God, Frank, the family, and their friends face this most devastating of events - the slow death of a beloved child. The vivid and various responses - of Mary Grace herself, of her wisecracking granddad, of her no-account mother, of her adoring father, as well as his two girlfriends and his fellow state troopers - are told with an immediacy that floods this novel with a rush of life. With profound feeling, with a humor both delicate and robust,Doris Betts gives us a family richly varied and real. Souls Raised from the Dead is her finest novel yet.

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User Review  - delphimo - LibraryThing

The book's opening scene provides fun and excitement that soon changes to boredom. The book contains no chapters, just one long and wordy descent into the chasm. The books description predicted the ... Read full review


User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

The first novel by Betts (Heading West, 1981) in over ten years indulges in the clichăs of domestic melodrama—a divorced couple, the illness of their only child, the burden and joy of non- nuclear ... Read full review


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About the author (1994)

Doris Betts was born Doris June Waugh in Statesville, North Carolina on June 4, 1932. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where as a sophomore she won the Mademoiselle College Fiction contest for the story Mr. Shawn and Father Scott. After working as a newspaper reporter for a number of years, she joined the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1966. She taught creative writing there for 32 years. During her lifetime, she wrote 6 novels and 3 short story collections. Her novel, Souls Raised from the Dead, won the Southern Book Award in 1995. Her other works include The Gentle Insurrection, Tall Houses in Winter, The Scarlet Thread, The River to Pickle Beach, and The Sharp Teeth of Love. She won numerous awards including the N.C. Award for Literature, the John Dos Passos Prize, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Medal of Merit for her short stories, and the Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction from the N.C. Literary and Historical Association, which she won three times. Her short story, The Ugliest Pilgrim, was made into an Academy Award-winning film and a musical that won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award in 1998. She died of lung cancer on April 21, 2012 at the age of 79.

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