Friday, 1 August 2014

The Marrowbone Marble Company - Glenn Taylor

Product DetailsThis was sitting on my shelves for a couple of years.  A large-sized paperback that runs to 358 pages, every one worth reading. It's an American novel.  It stretches from WW2 at Guadalcanal in the Pacific Ocean, to Apollo 8 orbiting the world.  Such a big stretch of time might seem just too big, but the story involves a cast of less than 20 strong characters, and one man's dream.

The man is Loyal Ledford, who comes home from the war with visions still in his brain of the deaths of men he knew, coming to him over and over again.  When he realises that his job as a pen-pusher is just not enough for him, he takes it upon himself to create a little paradise, on land in the ownership of his cousins, where he can build a factory, plant gardens, open church and school and live with people like himself both black and white.  Paradise, eh?  but paradise has serpents, and as Ledford attempts to live out his dream, there are those who, in the 1960s, do not like the idea of mixing races, and who will do anything to stop Ledford and his friends.  Stop them from what?  Just stop them living their lives as they wish.  And those who want Ledford's dream to end are dumb, cruel, heartless; heard JFK speak but sniggered when he talked about fairness for all, as to them, all only meant white folk.  The kind of cowards who would kill people just to get where they wanted in life.  This is what Ledford is up against.  Can he make it?  Maybe. Can he persuade others to stick with him on this journey?  Maybe.

  I was in my teens when the race riots were on the news in the UK.  I was a little older when Martin Luther King was shot.  This book may go a little way to explaining the mindsets of those who cheered when he died, and those who felt only horror.  This is the author's second book.  The cover compares him to John Steinbeck, Cormac McCarthy, John Irving.  Maybe, maybe not.  I don't do comparisons.  But I liked this book a lot.  Liked the author's style. Got to go back and read "Trenchmouth Taggart" now.