Monday, August 31, 2015

507 (2014 #64). Big Stone Gap

by Adriana Trigiani

This book was much better than I expected.  It's 1978, Ave Maria Mulligan is about to turn 36, and it's been a tumultuous year for her in her hometown of Big Stone Gap, Virginia.  Her beloved mother has died, and she learns her mother's secret a few months later.  This throws her life into upheaval, and suddenly this long-time spinster is thinking of marriage and moving.

The book is full of small-town characters and quirky happenings, including one event based on a real-life incident in the real Big Stone Gap, author Adriana Trigiani's hometown in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia - a campaign stop visit by actress Elizabeth Taylor and her then-candidate husband John Warner.
This book isn't especially deep, but it's funny and enjoyable to read.  Some of the descriptions in it are quite lovely. From page 56, about Big Stone Gap: is fall, our most luscious season.  The mountains around us turn from dark velvet to an iridescent taffeta.  The leaves of late September are bright green; by the first week of October they change to shimmering gemstones, garnet and topez and all the purples in between.  The mountains seem to be lit from the ground by theatrical footlights.  Autumn is our grand opera.  It even smells rich this time of year, a fresh mix of balsam and hickory and vanilla smoke.

And here's another, from page 256, of Italy:

There is a peachy golden haze over Italy that makes green fields more vivid, gives brown earth a depth and people a romantic glow....I think there is something different about the light.  When the sun goes down, the sky turns a vivid blue-black, the stars seems closer, and the edges don't fade out toward the horizon.  The same saturated blue hems the skyline that nestles the moon.

The hardbound book from the library is pictured at the top of this post.  I prefer the cover on the paperback book group edition pictured below it.  That book also included part of chapter 1 from the sequel to Big Stone Gap, entitled Big Cherry Holler.  From what I read, I definitely want to read that and the rest of the books in the series.  And maybe even see the movie version of this book, which is supposed to come out in October 2015.

© Amanda Pape - 2015

[The hardbound book was borrowed from and returned to the Hood County Library.  I already had the paperback and will hang on to it for a while.]

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