The Morning and the Evening

The Morning and the Evening

Joan Williams

Joan Williams

Finalist for the National Book Award: Joan Williams's unforgettable first novel is the story of a small Southern town struggling to care for one of its own In a rundown farmhouse in Mississippi, Jake Darby wakes up one morning to find his world forever changed. His long-suffering mother has died overnight, abandoning forty-year-old Jake, who is mute and, according to his neighbors, not quite right in the head. With no family to take him in, it is up to the townspeople of Marigold to take care of Jake, a grave responsibility that brings out the best—and the worst—of a community in which painful truths are usually hidden from sight. In such a place, even the kindest of acts can lead to the most tragic of outcomes. Heralded as the debut of a major new talent when it was first published in 1961, The Morning and the Evening won the John P. Marquand First Novel Award from the Book-of-the-Month Club and established Joan Williams as a...
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Pay the Piper

Pay the Piper

Joan Williams

Joan Williams

The electrifying story of a woman whose search for love and fulfillment brings her to the very brink of disaster Laurel Wynn is haunted by her insecurities. Raised in a backwater Mississippi town by an alcoholic mother, she is now the author of largely ignored novels and the unhappy wife and mother of an upper-middle-class New England family. She continues to hold out hope, however, that the right kind of love might change everything for the better. When she begins a correspondence with Hal MacDonald, a wealthy Mississippian incarcerated for the accidental murder of his stepson, Laurel comes to believe that she has finally found a partner passionate and charismatic enough to make her feel whole. Enthralled by Hal's ardent letters and their brief jailhouse meetings, Laurel leaves her husband and child to move back to the South. But when Hal is finally released, the fantasy romance she imagined quickly turns into a nightmare. At fifty-three years old,...
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The Wintering

The Wintering

Joan Williams

Joan Williams

This poignant tale of a young woman's affair with a famous writer is based on Joan Williams's real-life relationship with William Faulkner For Amy Howard, the novels of Jeffrey Almoner are a refuge from the uncertainty of life. His books are full of the questions—about the nature of justice, the necessity of suffering, and the meaning of the past—that occupy her thoughts, but that no else seems interested in asking or able to answer. When she and two friends make a pilgrimage to Almoner's house, she expects the world-famous author to be tall, dark, and mysterious, and to find in him the mirror to her soul. Instead, the encounter is too brief and awkward for Amy to even introduce herself. Back at home, she pours out everything she had hoped to say in a letter, sharing with Almoner her belief that, despite the difference in their ages, they are spiritually connected. His surprisingly personal response marks the beginning of an intense...
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Old Powder Man

Old Powder Man

Joan Williams

Joan Williams

The vivid and absorbing story of a man whose unwavering pursuit of success leaves him searching for the true meaning of life Raised in rural Arkansas during the Great Depression, Frank "Son" Wynn leaves home at age fourteen to seek his fortune. Handsome, charismatic, and headstrong, he eventually becomes a powder man, selling dynamite up and down the Mississippi River. With a single-minded determination, he expands his business at every opportunity, foreseeing the crucial role his product will play in constructing dams and levees to bring the region's annual flooding under control. Step by step, over the course of a long and challenging career, Son outmaneuvers his competitors and achieves a level of prosperity far removed from his humble beginnings. He is the quintessential self-made man—impressive and exasperating in equal measure, the cheerful expression he wears to greet customers masking the giant chip on his shoulder. His health failing,...
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