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Family linen

Author: Lee Smith
Publisher: New York, New York : G.P. Putnam's, [1985] ©1985
Edition/Format:   Print book : Fiction : English : Book club editionView all editions and formats
Summary:
"Who dunnit? is almost beside the point in Family Linen, a rollicking comic novel which also explores the profound mystery of families and how they work, and of our intrinsic aloneness within them. Part murder mystery, part social commentary, part family history, Family Linen introduces the reader to a cast of characters who just won't shut up-until finally it all comes out in the wash, and the wash is hung out for  Read more...
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Details

Genre/Form: Psychological fiction
Fiction
Material Type: Fiction
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Lee Smith
ISBN: 0399130802 9780399130809
OCLC Number: 14444773
Description: 207 pages ; 22 cm
Responsibility: Lee Smith.

Abstract:

"Who dunnit? is almost beside the point in Family Linen, a rollicking comic novel which also explores the profound mystery of families and how they work, and of our intrinsic aloneness within them. Part murder mystery, part social commentary, part family history, Family Linen introduces the reader to a cast of characters who just won't shut up-until finally it all comes out in the wash, and the wash is hung out for all the world to see-the world of Booker Creek, that is, a little town somewhere in the mountains of Virginia not far from the North Carolina line, where everybody has known the Hesses for generations. It starts with Sybill, a middle-aged adult-education teacher from Roanoke, Virginia, who learns through hypnosis that her recurrent headaches result from her having witnessed, in early childhood, a gruesome murder-her mother, the very proper local poetess Miss Elizabeth, killing Jewell Rife, her father, with an ax. Can this be true? Sybill hops in her Ford Maxima and speeds home to confront her mother-but alas! Miss Elizabeth has suffered a stroke. Her condition worsens as the whole family gathers at her death bed-Myrtle, age forty, who 'typed her way through the sixties and missed the whole thing,' now inexplicably engaged in a torrid affair with a young exterminator named Gary Vance; Myrtle's husband, the up-and-coming dermatologist Dr. Don Dotson, who drives a new BMW with SKIN on the license tag; Lacy, the 'intellectual' sister from Chapel Hill whose husband has just left her for one of his graduate students; Candy, a beautician ('hair is the most vital organ of the human body by a long shot'); their brother Arthur, former member of the Hot Licks rock group, now an alcoholic ne'er-do-well who lists his profession as 'housesitter'; their aunts Nettie (who runs the One Stop outside town) and Fay (who has given up real life altogether in favor of the world of soaps and the National Enquirer); the enigmatic Clinus, Nettie's first husband's son, who is either 'retarded or real smart'-and then all the cousins and grandchildren...and Sybill, don't forget Sybill, with all the bad news, Sybill who won't shut up about it, who will keep on embarrassing them all...but the funeral must be held, the will must be read, and Miss Elizabeth's worldly goods divided...as everybody reminisces, and out of their varied stories the portrait of a whole family emerges, and the mystery is solved, or is it"--Page 2 and 3 of flaps.

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Primary Entity

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