Cover image for This one and magic life
This one and magic life
George, Anne, -2001.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Avon Books, [1999]

Physical Description:
276 pages ; 19 cm
Format :


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A dark shadow envelops the grand old homestead overlooking Mobile Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, as a family gathers to mourn the untimely death of the remarkable woman who lived there. Artie Sullivan: world-famous artist, beloved daughter, sister and aunt, her powerful presence still felt even in death; her last request shattering convention and causing painful discord among those who loved her. Bound by blood, marriage, illicit alliances, and a terrible secret still buried, each must deal with bittersweet memories, and words left unspoken. Arties's younger brother Hektor is devastated by the death of his sister, but it is Donnie, Artie's twin, who feels he has lost a part of his soul, while his wife Mariel has lost a rival. Their daughter Dolly, who at twenty-seven is divorced form a man she still loves, is engulfed by huge sorrows of her own, and has inherited the house filled with ghosts of the past.

Yet in the often mysterious land of the deep South, where love and hatred run deep and lose, and dissension often simmers just beneath the surface, Artie's passing has touched many others as well, and brings cousins, servants, and neighbors to a place where artificial boundaries vanish. And in this unforgettable almost-forbidden place of pain and love, loss and passion, each of the Sullivans will discover truths long buried in silence, in taboos, and in the heart.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Award-winning author of the Southern Sisters Mysteries (Murder Shoots the Bull, etc.) and former Alabama State Poet, George proves she can smoothly shift genres in this silky and passionate literary novel. Sullivan family members are returning to their sleepy Harlow, Ala., hometown to mourn the death of 58-year-old Artie (Artemis) Sullivan, a spunky and talented painter. Her twin brother, Donnie (Adonis), and younger sibling, Hektor, along with Donnie's wife, Mariel, and their daughter, Dolly, learn more than they expected. Artie's death has her loved ones ransacking their memories to hold the truths, half-truths and outright lies of their lives up to the light. Upset by Artie's wish to be cremated, Mariel produces a fake funeral to keep up appearances, while she examines her jealousy of Artie's intense bond with Donnie and Dolly. Donnie and Hektor unearth painful memories about their parents' early deaths and their mother's mental instability, seductive beauty and affair with neighbor Zeke Pardue. They also reveal a dark, decades-old family secret that only Artie's death could bring to the surface. The narrative can be confusing as it haphazardly switches points of view: some chapters are in the third person, others are written in the voices of various characters. But perhaps the polyvocal approach is an adequate device to explain the myriad entanglements and reveal the harbored secrets of this family. Sad moments include a father who accidentally kills his baby by leaving her out in the hot sun while he passes out drunk; a more subtle passage features Artemis making love with her cousin Bo. Drawing on her poetic roots, George's assured, soft Southern prose is full of symbolism and lyrical phrases, with much stargazing, Greek mythology and rising and setting suns to infuse the homey story with a mystical aura. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

A poet who has been nominated for a Pulitzer and the Agatha Award-winning author of the "Southern Sisters" mystery novels, George spins the tale of a Southern family who gather at the old homestead on Mobile Bay, finally united after a member's death. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.