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Paperback A Gracious Plenty: A Novel Book

ISBN: 0609803875

ISBN13: 9780609803875

A Gracious Plenty: A Novel

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Like New

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Book Overview

Badly burned in a household accident when she was a child, Finch Nobles grows into a courageous and feisty loner who eschews the pity of her hometown and discovers that she can hear the voices of the people buried in her father's cemetery. Finally, when she speaks to them, they answer, telling their stories in a remarkable chorus of regrets, expla-nations, and insights. A Gracious Plenty is like an extraordinary amalgam of Steinbeck and Faulkner,...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

A Gracious Plenty

This book should be put on your shelf of southern writers, right between William and Flannery. It is a story of a girl who becomes a bit of a grotesque through an accident. She becomes the primary caretaker of a cemetary, and is so in tune with the deceased that she can communicate and see them. This gift makes for a fine story. The description here is achingly beautiful, especially when Reynolds discusses nature. It is strangely comforting to those who have recently lost loved ones, too.


I picked up this novel by Sheri Reynolds a couple of days ago -- I hadn't heard anything about the author or about the book, it simply caught my eye in the bookstore. After reading it, I can say without a doubt that it is one of the most memorable, arresting books I've ever read. The main character, Finch Nobles, is an amazing and inspirational figure -- but very human, and therefore easy to relate to. (Sorry about the preposition -- get over it) The author has presented the reader with a novel view of life after death, and has shown how this character has learned from the departed many important things about living. The passage in the novel that keeps coming back to me: We choose our truths the way we choose our gods, single-sightedly, single-mindedly, no other way to feel or see or think. We lock ourselves into our ways, and click all the truths into one. We put our truths together in pieces, but you use nails and I use glue. You mend with staples. I mend with screws. You stitch what I would bandage. Your truth may not look like mine, but that is not what matters. What matters is this: You can look at a scar and see hurt, or you can look at a scar and see healing. Try to understand. Too often in our everyday lives we overlook the talents and traits of those around us by focusing on their 'defects'. We need to try to learn to see the whole person when we look at someone. We can all learn a lot from this book.

The truth of scars

Finch Nobles tends a cemetery in a small Southern town. She was badly burned as a child, and subsequently never made many friends. Among the living, that is. Finch has been able to talk with the dead for a long time, and considers them her friends. She does things for the dead that they cannot do, thereby helping them be released from their burdens. The closest thing she has to a friend among the living is Leonard, who's the sheriff, but Finch seems to have a crush on one of the ghosts, Lucy. Through the tale of Finch's scars, and the hidden scars of the town, Reynolds explores the power of healing and the power of touch. This book is simply gorgeous overall. I love the way Reynolds also sneaks in social tolerance after one of the dead is discovered to have been a transvestite in life, and the whole town turns against him, even though he's dead. He was a good person, but a tiny detail made a difference in the town's view. The novel might have been a bit longer to better develop some of these concepts and connections, but its length doesn't take away from the power of the novel, because by leaving some connections to the reader, Reynolds gives a nod to readers' intelligence. Not everything needs to be spelled out.

Talking to the dead has never been done like this before.

I have read all sorts of books that use contact between living and dead. But, this one is so different it takes the horror away. You really feel the dead characters are real, only in a different and transient condition. And, the fact that it's a disfigured person who can so beautifully communicate with the dead, warms my soul. It's one of the most wonderful books I've ever read.

My latest favorite book

I stumbled across this book at my local library and went to bed early every night until it was finished. I know so many of these characters and could appreciate the struggles that they were going through. The relationship between the cross-dressing "bum" and the baby touched me so deeply that I cried. It was so unexpected and almost perverse, but it has haunted me ever since. Although I know that this is purely a work of fiction, I keep thinking that if it were only true, there would be no reason to fear death. S. Reynolds' prose is mesmerizing, and I will reccomend this book to anyone who asks.
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