THIS ONE AND MAGIC BOOK
Anne George, who has entertained a wide and appreciative audience with her Southern Sisters mysteries, goes beyond a merely pleasant diversion in this moving story of a troubled Southern family. Before writing the Southern Sisters, George had established her reputation as a very fine poet. Her poetical skills are abundantly evident in this book's many lyrical passages. For example, Chapter Four, "Almond Pie" (culinary poetry in itself!) begins with these words: "The Deep South is still a mystery. It is even a mystery to those who live there. Live oaks trailing Spanish moss whisper and move around during the night. Sometimes they move next door. A mystery. But that's the way things are." That short chapter ends with a man turning cartwheels down the beach: "And that is what Sarah will remember most about this day, the cartwheels and a boat with a vivid blue sail that draws a line across the horizon." Despite the almost visceral impact of its imagery, however, THIS ONE AND MAGIC LIFE is not, as Southern Sister Mary Alice might say, at all "hi-faluting." Even in its most lyrical passages, the story remains accessible, its people tied to the earth. Its unique yet universal characters are gradually revealed, much as the individual pieces of a jigsaw puzzle become a recognizable picture. George's use of the present tense and her shifting of time and point of view, while never obtrusive,help her to tell an engrossing tale that no single chronological "once upon a time" could begin to convey. Yes, George says, life is a mystery; but at times the curtain is drawn back, and scattered images of what has been come together to show us what is, might have been and perhaps, what will be, in "this one and magic life." I didn't want this book to end, and I shall certainly read it again. It is one "beach novel" that is also a real "keeper."