Does evil have boundaries?
The novel by Julie Roberts Towe not only calls to mind the dark demon of racism, which has not been entirely exorcised out of human heads to date, but it’s also a great piece of psychological fiction, showing dealing with loss, abuse, self-aggression, hatred and cruelty. All the terrible things in the life of Rhoda and the family she meets in Grand Saline wouldn't have happened if not for the disastrous attitudes in the heads of other people. All this pain was brought to their lives not by natural disasters or material world entropy, but by corrupted minds. It could have been avoided if humans were just humane to each other. Like ebony and ivory, the terrible knot of the threads of characters’ lives shows strong contrasts. The reader’s emotions, empathy and also ethical judgements are challenged all the time. Is it really possible for so many bad things to happen to a single person? (Oh yes, it is). Can humans really be so wicked and cruel? So stupid? (Oh yes, they can). The main character, whose chaos and devastation was hard to bear in the first half of the book, later on - well, I won’t spoil it, but I shocked myself with the feelings I felt when I read. It was like OMG - all the time. Well-written, gripping, engaging, shocking, full of pain - a page turner. And the ethical and social problems featured are still a real issue today. The 60's were not such a long time ago, within the lifetime of most of our parents.