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The Twelve-Mile Straight
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HarperCollins 2017
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Description

From New York Times bestselling author Eleanor Henderson, an audacious American epic set in rural Georgia during the years of the Depression and Prohibition.

Cotton County, Georgia, 1930: in a house full of secrets, two babies-one light-skinned, the other dark-are born to Elma Jesup, a white sharecropper's daughter. Accused of her rape, field hand Genus Jackson is lynched and dragged behind a truck down the Twelve-Mile Straight, the road to the nearby town. In the aftermath, the farm's inhabitants are forced to contend with their complicity in a series of events that left a man dead and a family irrevocably fractured.

Despite the prying eyes and curious whispers of the townspeople, Elma begins to raise her babies as best as she can, under the roof of her mercurial father, Juke, and with the help of Nan, the young black housekeeper who is as close to Elma as a sister. But soon it becomes clear that the ties that bind all of them together are more intricate than any could have ever imagined. As startling revelations mount, a web of lies begins to collapse around the family, destabilizing their precarious world and forcing all to reckon with the painful truth.

Acclaimed author Eleanor Henderson has returned with a novel that combines the intimacy of a family drama with the staggering presence of a great Southern saga. Tackling themes of racialized violence, social division, and financial crisis, The Twelve-Mile Straight is a startlingly timely, emotionally resonant, and magnificent tour de force.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
09/12/2017
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780062422101
ASIN:
B01NBJCY8A
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Eleanor Henderson. (2017). The Twelve-Mile Straight. HarperCollins.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Eleanor Henderson. 2017. The Twelve-Mile Straight. HarperCollins.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Eleanor Henderson, The Twelve-Mile Straight. HarperCollins, 2017.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Eleanor Henderson. The Twelve-Mile Straight. HarperCollins, 2017. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 15:21:20
Date Updated:
Jun 12, 2018 15:21:20
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        Eleanor Henderson was born in Greece, grew up in Florida, and attended Middlebury College and the University of Virginia. Her debut novel, Ten Thousand Saints, was named one of the 10 Best Books of 2011 by the New York Times and a finalist for the Award for First Fiction from the Los Angeles Times and was adapted into a film in 2015. An associate professor at Ithaca College, she lives in Ithaca, New York, with her husband and two sons.

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shortDescription

From New York Times bestselling author Eleanor Henderson, an audacious American epic set in rural Georgia during the years of the Depression and Prohibition.

Cotton County, Georgia, 1930: in a house full of secrets, two babies-one light-skinned, the other dark-are born to Elma Jesup, a white sharecropper's daughter. Accused of her rape, field hand Genus Jackson is lynched and dragged behind a truck down the Twelve-Mile Straight, the road to the nearby town. In the aftermath, the farm's inhabitants are forced to contend with their complicity in a series of events that left a man dead and a family irrevocably fractured.

Despite the prying eyes and curious whispers of the townspeople, Elma begins to raise her babies as best as she can, under the roof of her mercurial father, Juke, and with the help of Nan, the young black housekeeper who is as close to Elma as a sister. But soon it becomes clear that the ties that bind all of them together are more...

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title
The Twelve-Mile Straight
fullDescription

From New York Times bestselling author Eleanor Henderson, an audacious American epic set in rural Georgia during the years of the Depression and Prohibition.

Cotton County, Georgia, 1930: in a house full of secrets, two babies-one light-skinned, the other dark-are born to Elma Jesup, a white sharecropper's daughter. Accused of her rape, field hand Genus Jackson is lynched and dragged behind a truck down the Twelve-Mile Straight, the road to the nearby town. In the aftermath, the farm's inhabitants are forced to contend with their complicity in a series of events that left a man dead and a family irrevocably fractured.

Despite the prying eyes and curious whispers of the townspeople, Elma begins to raise her babies as best as she can, under the roof of her mercurial father, Juke, and with the help of Nan, the young black housekeeper who is as close to Elma as a sister. But soon it becomes clear that the ties that bind all of them together are more intricate than any could have ever imagined. As startling revelations mount, a web of lies begins to collapse around the family, destabilizing their precarious world and forcing all to reckon with the painful truth.

Acclaimed author Eleanor Henderson has returned with a novel that combines the intimacy of a family drama with the staggering presence of a great Southern saga. Tackling themes of racialized violence, social division, and financial crisis, The Twelve-Mile Straight is a startlingly timely, emotionally resonant, and magnificent tour de force.

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reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Seattle Times
      • content:

        "Riveting...Henderson immerses you in characters worthy of Flannery O'Connor...A masterful piece of storytelling." — Seattle Times

        "An absorbing epic of poor Georgia farm people and other folks they encounter in dicey, hardscrabble times. The elegant yet swift and crafty storytelling is spiked with so many surprises." — Atlanta Journal-Constitution

        "This is one of the most beautiful books, as an object, I've ever held. What's inside is even more beautiful: beautifully told, beautifully written, a story that penetrates to the American heart, and all the light and darkness therein." — Philadelphia Inquirer

        "[A] superb novel whose roots can be traced to Harper Lee and Carson McCullers." — O, the Oprah Magazine

        "Affecting, profound...offers readers a rich, comprehensive portrait of the powerful forces at work in the Jim Crow South... Henderson does an incredible job." — Nylon Magazine

        "This engaging, expansive novel manages to feel historical and, sadly, up to the minute as it probes the sins at the heart of the American experience...This is the kind of novel you sink into, live inside. When you're finished, it will live inside you. A bravura performance." — Victor Lavalle, author of The Changeling

        "Lyrical...mesmerizing, disturbing, and wonderfully persuasive. The world is brutal even as the landscape is lush and seductive...Unstinting in showing us the everyday savagery of Jim Crow, of poverty, and of family abuse. A riveting, consequential story full of complex secrets and unexpected turns." — Dana Spiotta, author of Innocents and Others

        "One of the deepest and most nuanced explorations of our shared humanity that I've read...The writing is so extraordinary it will make your teeth ache; the story is so compelling that you may gasp out loud...This is no ordinary novel. It is art of the highest order." — Cristina Henríquez, author of The Book of Unknown Americans

        "A family drama, a mystery, a Southern Gothic, and a searing study of the complexities of race in America...Cotton County is a dark place, tortured by its own secrets, and it's in Henderson's expert hand and penetrating eye that those secrets are carried into light." — Bill Cheng, author of Southern Cross the Dog

        "An intricate and fascinating tale of maternity and paternity, of race and blood, of two young women doing what they must do to survive...This is brave material, confronted with unblinking honesty and woven with intelligence and grace." — Christopher Tilghman, author of The Right-Hand Shore

        "Henderson's highly recommended title delivers a powerful tale of social complexity told in radiant and precise prose." — Library Journal (starred review)

        "Totally immersing, provocative...The world of Twelve Mile Straight—the rural back road of this engrossing novel's title, with its illegal distillery, chain gangs, and lynchings—will continue to haunt readers long after they finish the final page." — Booklist

        "Doesn't exclude the true horrors women and people of color faced in 1930s Georgia, these tragedies depicted through a fictional town with fictional characters, facing the same stakes and complicated pasts as the real town with real people. The work is raw, aching and concerning...dauntless...timeless." — The Ithaca Times

        "Searing...The Twelve-Mile Straight takes readers to some remarkable places, always brought to life in...

      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        July 17, 2017
        Lingering in the overheated world of the Deep South during the Depression, the convoluted second novel by Henderson (Ten Thousand Saints) delves into questions of race, class, and gender, sometimes at the expense of character development. When Georgia sharecropper and bootlegger Juke’s teenaged daughter, Elma, claims to have given birth to twins, one white and one black, her father and her wealthy ne’er-do-well fiancé become enraged, and a black field hand is lynched. Elma cares for the children with the help of Nan, a mute young black servant and midwife in whom Juke takes an interest. The babies are treated as a miracle by some in the community and a sin by others, and they attract the attention of both a polio-stricken researcher who studies sickle cell disease at a university in Atlanta and the members of a chain gang who are paving the little back road on which Elma’s family lives. The richly detailed landscape of the volatile mill town where the novel is set immerse the reader in an unsentimental version of the South under economic and social pressure. The plot of the novel is less promising: readers are likely to figure out supposed secrets long before they are revealed.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        July 1, 2017
        The births of two babies and the consequent lynching of a black man launch Henderson's (Ten Thousand Saints, 2011) grim investigation into the fractures of race, class, and family in rural Georgia.Pink little Winnafred and brown Wilson are born in the summer of 1930, allegedly the twin offspring of 18-year-old Elma Jesup, whose father, Juke, accuses field hand Genus Jackson of raping her. Elma reluctantly confirms this, and her fiance, Freddie Wilson, helps Juke string up Genus and then skips town. Wealthy George Wilson is furious with Juke for letting his grandson take the blame--not that anyone wants to bring the lynchers to justice--and is suspicious about these "Gemini twins." Indeed, we hear very soon that Wilson was fathered by Juke with Nan, the Jesups' 14-year-old African-American servant. Juke forces the two girls into this absurd deception for reasons that are somewhat obscure until Henderson's tangled saga has unreeled a good deal farther into the year 1931 and back into a past that includes abuse and violence galore. The details are baroque but appropriate to the epically unjust society scathingly depicted. The reign of terror under which African-Americans live takes perhaps its most appalling form in the stories of Nan and her mother, both forced into long-term sexual subjugation by white men, but Elma and the white girls who work at George Wilson's cotton mill are hardly better off. Juke, in Henderson's most multifaceted and terrifying portrait, clings to the prerogatives of race and gender to hide from himself the fact that he's just trash in the eyes of men like George Wilson, who hold the real power in the South. Despite Henderson's evident compassion for her characters, she gives them hardly a moment of grace from the dark opening to the brutal denouement, which makes the tentatively hopeful epilogue somewhat difficult to credit. Strong medicine, not always easy to swallow, but readers who like a challenge will relish this gifted writer's ambition and grit.

        COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        April 15, 2017

        Henderson, who launched her career with Ten Thousand Saints, both a New York Times best seller and best book, returns with a story set in 1930 Georgia. Elma Jesup, a white sharecropper's daughter, has given birth to two babies, one dark-skinned, which leads to the lynching of a field hand for presumed rape. The lies propping up Elma's family eventually start to give way. With a 100,000-copy first printing.

        Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

popularity
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