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Monday, April 23, 2012

Return, reviews, links

I'm not quite recovered from my trip South to speak at MALIA--that is, I'm finding it hard to adjust to the idea that soon there will be snow on the Lenten roses, bleeding hearts, periwinkles, violets, checker lilies, and so on now blooming in the front yard! Life in the No'th is a perpetual challenge to those of us who grew up in bright sunshine.

Not a bloggy thing is rattling in my sleepy head this morning, and it's a bit early for reviews since we did not send out advance copies of A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage, so I will just post a few clips from reviews on that behemoth, Amazon, in hopes that passers-by are inspired toward reading. (Somehow, every time I use the word behemoth, I can hear Julia Child's rising inflection as she lauds "a be-HE-moth of a lobster!)

From a masterpiece: I hope this book receives the recognition it deserves. I was going to say it was "beautifully written," but that seems superficial somehow, so I'll say it's ~masterfully~ written. Youmans is a poet, true, but the poetry here is used in the service of the story, to bring scenes and characters to life; it's not decoration. I'm amazed at Youman's ability to inhabit another world so fully, as if she'd been reincarnated and were remembering it all firsthand. As others have noted, you want to linger over the descriptions and at the same time move forward to see what happens next. From An important, must-read novel that defies categorizationMarly Youmans' new book 'Death at the White Camellia Orphanage' is an important book. It is, in superficial terms, an American novel, a Southern novel, a bildungsroman, a picaresque novel, and a murder mystery, too... and yet, it doesn't WANT to be categorized, you can tell. It doesn't fit tidy definitions. Pip, the orphan protagonist of the novel, moves from a near- autistic reticence at the beginning of his tale to, after years of living a hobo's life, a kind of jerrybuilt, though workable and sturdy, sense of self at the end. Along the way, he meets characters and situations worthy of Dickens and Lewis Carroll. Youmans' voice is unique, her range wide, her output prodigious. But she has never given us anything like 'Death at the White Camellia Orphanage.' You really ought to read this book, if you care about fiction at all. Even if you're only lukewarm about fiction, do it. Read the book. It has taken up residence in my heart and in my mind. It could do this for you, too. From Beautiful Writing; Beautiful Story of the South: This book is written like a classic that is readable today while telling a story that has relevance for the future while showing us the past. Reader Review:'A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage' is pure joy. Marly Youmans has crafted a uniquely southern American experience into a universal melody that sings of deep loss and conciliation; of the vagaries and complexities of integration into society from the standpoint of the 'hero' - 'Pip' - who battles injustice and the incomprehension of those around him (Pip would these days be regarded as falling within the Asperger's syndrome classification, I believe) and, against all odds, finds a place within family and society. The novel is an extremely satisfying read. I believe I have just read an American classic.
Links for A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage
Read chapter one at Scribd
See the new facebook page
Goodreads giveway, April 15-May 15: 24 copies
Amazon hardcover and ebook
Indie bookstore search
Buy direct from Mercer
In celebration of the new book and National Poetry Month, Mercer is offering The Throne of Psyche
 at 20% off plus free shipping  Discount code: POETRY


  1. Aiee, I've been hearing about this snow storm warning for the east including Canada - freaky! I hope you and your flowers survive undamaged.

    Glad you made it home safe from a literary talk and art filled time!

    PS your book is on its way here at last!

  2. Marja-Leena,

    Hurrah! Very glad to hear it...

    I feel sorry for our athletes, too! Poor little runners and flowers. I made a fire in the fireplace last night...

  3. We have reverted, temporarily I hope, the winter practices here as well. Open fire, comfort food, warmer clothing.

    I would not be surprised to see favorable comments on Amazon increase exponentially in short shift.
    Better that people do not rush through that novel, but pick it up when they can enjoy it the most. Once picked up - forget anything else!

  4. Brr!

    Hope so on all counts! But I'm really depending on word of mouth so far...

  5. What extraordinarily well-written reviews ;D. Gosh, I hope the book gets the wide, wide, widest audience. It certainly deserves it!

  6. Yes, aren't they nice!

    I am certainly hoping that Lady Word of Mouth will be kind...


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.