A Separate Country, by Robert Hicks

Book 7

Robert Hicks wrote Widow of the South, the novel that launched last year’s road trip to Tennessee, and this second book has been on my list for awhile.  I still haven’t found a copy at any of the book sales, but my library had an audio copy.

After the war, General John Bell Hood settled in New Orleans and married a nice young Creole lady.  Had eleven children, made and lost a fortune.  Died in poverty of yellow fever along with the wife and their oldest child.  The novel imagines that life and Hood’s search for redemption.  It is told from three perspectives – Hood, his wife, and a young man who was left an orphan after the Battle of Franklin.

Civil War backdrop, New Orleans, multiple points of view, and redemption.  What is not to love?  Well.  It did get a bit gory, which you can’t easily skip over in an audio copy.  But the production was great.  The three narrators did multiple voices and accents and kept them up fairly well.

There are several interesting supporting characters and some philosophical questions.  The big one is – what do any of us really know about each other?  Do we only see what we want to see in people?  Does it matter?  I don’t think I am doling out any spoilers to say that the character Paschal was set up by his friends as a rather Christ-like figure in the narrative.  Eli Griffin, the young narrator, starts to pull on a thread of that theory and it started to unravel.  That was well done.

I am pretty sure I will read anything Hicks writes.

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