The Rosewood Casket

The Rosewood Casket

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Randall Stargill lies dying on his Appalachian farm, and his four sons have come home to build him a coffin from his precious cache of rosewood. Like a hovering vulture, a local real estate developer is readying an offer for the farm. And mountain wise-woman Nora Bonesteel, Randall's sweetheart of long ago, brings to light a small box to be buried with Randall--a box containing human bones. Thus the stage is set for a tale of family strife, dark secrets, and eerie legends among mountain people torn between tradition and change. This hauntingly beautiful novel evokes the spiritually charged mountains where the night wind still sounds its eternal song.
ISBN: 9780451184719


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Aug 07, 2013

The Rosewood Casket was recommended to me, for my love of magical realism. And I am very grateful for that recommendation! This novel is set in Appalachian Tennessee, basically a foreign country to me, but McCrumb details both the culture and the landscape in a beautifully poetic way.

At its heart, this is not just a story of the Stargill family, but of the timeless transition of land-tied creatures being forced to move, and indeed, of consequences. It's the story of Daniel Boone, the Cherokee, indigenous species that have been shoved out by invasive species, and the development of farm land into McMansions and planned communities in the 1980's.

But it's also the story of a collection of men and women that McCrumb paints as three-dimensional, realistically flawed, and equally broken. There is no sole protagonist or antagonist, though Clayte is most often the narrative voice- it's truly an ensemble piece. And one that plays with your expectations.

I highly recommend it for fans of magical realism, place-centric fiction, historical-influenced contemporary stories, those who enjoy the Appalachian culture, and adults who can relate to having dysfunctional families.


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