In the midst of the bleak uncertainty of rural, Depression-era Alabama, life is anything but simple and safe for the Moores, the closely-knit family who towers in the fore of Gin Phillips' richly textured debut novel, The Well and the Mine. While Albert plunges daily into the peril of coal mining and Leta risks her health for the daily welfare of the family, Virgie and Tess trail the mystery of the "Well Woman," who tossed her baby into the family well, until Jack's life hangs in the balance after a horrific accident. Indeed, there is more to the oft-told grand narrative of social and economic hardship in early-20th century America--there are the persistent loves, dreams and fears of the individual who is subject to the human experience no matter the circumstance. As Phillips invites us to walk around in the worn-out shoes of each of the Moores, we witness through their eyes the universal importance of community, family, love and how "the right answer could be more than one thing at the same time." All in all, Gin Phillips weaves together the experiences of her characters to form a first novel that is elegant, wholehearted and poignant--a laudable beginning to what will hopefully become her success story.
Thu., July 9, 7 p.m., 2009