Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added) is the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers. --John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture

Little Jordan 1995

David R. Godine, Publisher, 1995
Tempest pb, 1996
Marly's first book


Out of print in paperback but still in print in the Godine hardcover.

Miraculously, Marly Youmans blows a fresh breeze through the summer coming-of-age novel.  At 105 pages, her Little Jordan is a small wonder of a book, thick with the sensory detail of a Southern river town and rich with the emotional deepening of a 13-year-old girl.

--Matthew Gilbert, 
The Boston Globe
In this slim novel, Ms. Youmans uses Meg’s vo
ice, at once fragile and knowing, to breathe life into a character caught between wonder and wisdom….In Little Jordan, this child-woman encounters death, but she also learns about the mysteries of life, and throughout this process the sounds and smells of a Southern summer gather around her as if in a dream.…The novel does its work with spareness and grace, capturing a portrait of a child as she buries part of her youth alongside that drowned little girl.

--Nina Sonenberg, 
The New Y
ork Times Book Review

The gentle grace and insights of Little Jordan make it a book to read when you want to remember the summers of your youth and those first lessons in mortality that, by their very power, heightened the intensity and seeming invincibility of life.

--Gale Harris, 
Belles Lettres
Marly Youmans has created an unforgettable story with a somewhat dreamlike ambience.  Little Jordan deserves multiple readings; there are many lovely passages worthy of writing down or committing to memory.  It is a great talent that can contemplate life’s dark truths and reveal them with such beauty and grace.  Marly Youmans is a superb and gifted writer.

--Tracy G. Knight, The Spectator(Raleigh)

While Little Jordan was published for an adult audience, it has since been cross-marketed to young adults. Sections of the book were anthologized and discussed in Andrea Johnston and Gloria Steinem'sGirls Speak Out: Finding Your True Self.



  • Paperback rights:  New York:  Tempest (Avon Books), 1999
  • French language rights:  Lemeac Editeur (Montreal) 2000
  • Chapter 1 appeared in Carolina Quarterly, Winter 1995
  • Excerpts in Andrea Johnston, Girls Speak Out ed. Gloria Steinem (New York:  Scholastic Press, 1997)

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Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.