Salvation (Forthcoming February 2021 )
“Salvation explores the tragic mistakes—well-intentioned in some instances, cruelly selfish in others—made by desperate people. But this is not a dark book. There is great love in this story, and profound generosity. Most importantly, the beauty of Caswell’s prose, her compassion for all of her characters, and her recognition of their complexity, elevates this account into a universal story of human frailty and courage. Each of these characters—nine-year-old Willie June, with her imaginary diary; seven-year-old Glory with her hunger; their misguided, hard-working mother and her alcoholic employer; the hapless P.I. who keeps missing his target; even the terrifying preacher, Mother Franklin, and her lost-soul driver—is complicated and deeply human. This is a stunning debut by an important talent.” —Abigail DeWitt, author of News of Our Loved Ones
“A haunting, disturbing journey through an America of misplaced hope and overvalued faith, of surprising redemption. With gentle humor and a profound appreciation for the marginalized lives of her characters, Avery Caswell illuminates the America that’s alongside us, and which many of us rarely acknowledge .” – Arthur J. Magida, author of Code Name Madeleine.
“No one ever talks about what happened,” Glory Munro says of the events that shaped this remarkable narrative based on the 1971 kidnapping of two Charlotte, North Carolina sisters by a well-known evangelist named Mother Franklin. Salvation not only talks about those events, but examines them via the lenses of memory, race, poverty, the shape-shifting powers of faith and, most importantly, longings of the human psyche. Avery Caswell’s Salvation and its characters—from Glory and Willie June, to Del and Mother Franklin herself—are so achingly rendered I knew them, sat with them, listened to them tell their stories for themselves.” —Karen Salyer McElmurray, author of Wanting Radiance
“Salvation creates a visual story landscape that evokes the lens for the witnessing of this engaging, haunting authenticity and unparalleled realism. Conjured utterance unfolds in an astounding and mesmerizing narrative.”
“This disturbing and yet affirming story of two poor young brown southern girls who needed to believe in something bigger, brighter, and more life-giving transports us onto a stage of darkness that is un-breakable and full of madness.” —Jaki Shelton Green, North Carolina Poet Laureate
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