In the Hope of Rising AgainBook - 2004
The life of a Southern family from the age of Reconstruction through the Great Depression-a brilliant social novel in the tradition of Julia Glass and Alice Munro In the Hope of Rising Again, Helen Scully's elegant and accomplished first novel, is the story of the Riants and the Morrows-and the wealth of household help and extended family that make up their circle. As such it is history told through one family's fate: the story of the South as it rose slowly, unsteadily, from the ruins of the Civil War and stuttered into the twentieth century and the age of speculation and boom. Regina Morrow is the center of this tale. The daughter of a Confederate veteran, Colonel Riant, a doting father and noble-minded autodidact, and the emotionally remote Mother Riant, Regina grows up in Mobile, Alabama, at the turn of the last century. Colonel Riant has amassed a fortune as a newspaperman and thus has control over much of Mobile; Mother Riant, meanwhile, has control over the household, ruling with an icy remove and an unyielding sense of propriety. Regina's four brothers function with so little distinction that few can tell them apart; their recklessly self-regarding devotions extend only to personal grooming, profuse gambling, and simultaneously courting the same women. An adored, favorite child molded by her father's beliefs, Regina breaks away from the Riant house and marries Charles Morrow, an eager yet fragile entrepreneur. It is a marriage beset from the start by Charles's instability and nearly undone by the death of a child. Regina must hold her own as her family meets financial ruin during the Depression, Mother Riant descends into deafness and senility, her brothers engage in increasingly mysterious habits, and the family struggles to reconcile itself with the Catholic faith painted thickly over its every act. Scully portrays her characters with the full weight of humanity, in sentences that are softly astonishing. Filled with incisive reflections on death, love, atonement, friendship, race, and, most of all, family, In the Hope of Rising Againis a stunning debut of a writer of great insight and imagination.
Publisher: New York : The Penguin Press, 2004
Characteristics: 312 pages ; 24 cm