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By Melanie Sumner

In a bold novel that deftly fuses wild, satiric humor and deeply felt discomfort, Melanie Sumner tells the tale of the Pepperses of Counterpoint, Georgia -- a relatives that by no means increases their voices or honks a horn and "avoids discussing intercourse, politics, and faith, favoring the subject of the elements, which averages seventy-five levels in Counterpoint year-round." Henry, a stoic businessman, vies for rule of the home together with his flamboyant spouse, Florida, a pertinacious Baptist and aspiring artist. jointly, their transparent undertaking is to guard and consultant their children-asthmatic, hormonal Roderick and hell-bent Louise-and retain them good dressed. So whilst Louise flees the Maude Wilson university for girls to hitch the Arthur Reese touring convey, Henry and Florida will do whatever to win her again.

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Henry had refused to shop for me crimson Wing boots. “You won’t be operating in a manufacturing unit for the remainder of your lifestyles, I hope,” he informed me at Pay much less sneakers. Then he laughed, patting me too challenging at the again. Jeremiah Stokes used to be a robust, good-looking guy, shrewdpermanent as a whip, with an excellent noble center and lots of horse feel. Had he been white, he may were Henry’s closest pal. the easiest Henry may possibly do used to be advertise him each year till he was once in control of all of the different black males within the plant and had his personal workplace within the again, subsequent to the bailer. He was once the one worker on the manufacturing unit taller than 5 foot 9, Henry’s peak, yet like every the opposite males Henry had employed, his fingers have been large. “Jeremiah has his personal position again here,” acknowledged Raymond Patch, best me right into a small workplace paneled with pine board. Raymond leaned opposed to his table, palms crossed, whereas Jeremiah towered within the doorway. The workplace was once tidier than the only Mr. Patch shared with different foremen. “Jeremiah is as neat as a pin,” Henry loved to claim. On Sundays after church, he occasionally drove us previous Jeremiah’s small brick residence within the black element of Counterpoint. Idling the auto in entrance of the manicured garden, he might exclaim, “Clean as a whistle! ” Then he well-known the polished white Cadillac which Jeremiah by no means drove to paintings. We by no means received out of the auto, yet occasionally Jeremiah got here to our apartment. On those events, he wore a coat and tie and parked vehicles for our visitors. “Jeremiah is as sincere because the day he used to be born,” Henry instructed humans. Now, as I stared on the crisp blue curtain Jeremiah’s spouse had held on the workplace wall to make it appear like there has been a window, I questioned, for the 1st time considering I had set my middle on getting into Southern Board, if i'll carry a task. Had a person stated “What is that this little lady doing right here? ” i'd have run out the door and not come again. “Well, glance what we now have here,” stated Jeremiah, smiling down at me. “I imagine she favors her daddy. ” Raymond, performing as my bodyguard, didn’t remark. “Your daddy is an efficient man,” stated Jeremiah. “A superb individual. Now, he used to discuss bringing Roderick out to paintings, yet I by no means heard him point out you. ” His voice softened. “My spouse and that i have been fairly sorry whilst your brother passed on to the great beyond. We misplaced one among our chirren, while she used to be only a child. I ain’t been a similar seeing that. ” Raymond coughed. “But now we bought you out right here with us,” acknowledged Jeremiah, straightening his wide shoulders. “We’re proud to have you ever. ” We shook fingers. “Ready to visit paintings? ” barked Raymond. Jeremiah stepped apart to permit him go, attaining right down to flip the cap backward on my head whilst I undefined. inside mins, i used to be throwing scrap board into the bailer. I persevered to do this for an additional seven hours. After I had labored on the plant for numerous days with none point out of being fired, i started to fret approximately my reputation. in addition to a twenty-four-minute lunch, Southern Board staff had twelve-minute breaks a shift. The white humans spent those loose sessions within the holiday room on the entrance of the plant.

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