Cover image for Slow poison
Slow poison
Bosworth, Sheila.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Knopf : Distributed by Random House, 1992.
Physical Description:
321 pages ; 22 cm
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"Set in and around New Orleans, mostly from 1958 to the late '60s, this bitter-sweet, episodic novel pierces Southern manners and mores with fierce tenderness".--"Publishers Weekly" (starred review). Copyright © Libri GmbH. All rights reserved.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The Cade sisters of New Orleans have lost their mothers (Honor, first, and Aimee Desiree, next), but alcoholic father Eamon is alive and spewing caustic, albeit gentlemanly, advice, and the servants and assorted relatives are in for the long haul as well. Jane Ann is pregnant and widowed; Arabella creates bizarre paintings throughout the nights; and Rory is just trying to survive under the stifling umbrella of the family slogan: "If you got no choice, then you got no problem." Author Bosworth shows that the Cades have problems galore, but few choices indeed. Bosworth uses the frame of Rory's long plane ride home with former lover and twice-removed brother-in-law J. B. Killelea to detail the Cades' lives--the tragedies and glories, the confusion and an ultimate clarity, as Rory's love for J. B. at last reaches resolution. What makes this tragicomic tale of southern life so fresh and penetrating is Bosworth's ability to turn a phrase--dropping surprisingly thoughtful antidotes to the long, slow poison of life itself. ~--Eloise Kinney

Publisher's Weekly Review

``To a Southerner, sweet and sad mean the same thing,'' writes Bosworth ( Almost Innocent ), an observation that aptly fits her jilted protagonist, Rory Cade, in love with a man who marries first one of her sisters and then the other, in this family saga rife with alcoholism, insanity, cancer, adultery and traumas related to the war in Vietnam. Set in and around New Orleans, mostly from 1958 to the late '60s, this bittersweet, episodic novel pierces Southern manners and mores with fierce tenderness. Rory's heartthrob, freelance journalist and war correspondent Johnny Killelea, courts ``violence in the name of honor: the Irishman's and the Southerner's constant passion.'' He ricochets from a marriage of convenience to a ``marriage of comfort,'' escaping love. Among Bosworth's memorable characters are Rory's stepmother, reckless belle Aimee Desiree; and Rory's father, Eamon, a charming alcoholic ophthalmologist who sometimes drinks on the job. His plight symbolically echoes Rory's tangled emotions as she sorts through jealousy, pity, rage and affection to see her family and herself with clarity. BOMC alternate. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

What could be worse than insanity in the family? That question has been the lifelong plague of Rory Cade. But when the family is alcoholic, Irish Catholic, and living just outside New Orleans, how do you recognize insanity when it creeps in? As the book opens, Rory and her once-lover, twice-brother-in-law Johnny Killelea meet up in New York and prepare to return to Louisiana for yet another Cade family crisis. During the rough flight home, they reminisce about the troubled past. The saga of the extended Cade family and household help is told against the backdrop of Vietnam, the King and Kennedy assassinations, and the changing times of the Sixties. Good reading from the author of Almost Innocent ( LJ 11/1/84).-- Debbie Bogen schutz, Cincinnati Technical Coll. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.