The Healing Hardcover – 21 Feb 2012
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"A remarkable rite-of-passage novel with an unforgettable character ... "The Healing "transcends any cliches of the genre with its captivating, at times almost lyrical, prose; its firm grasp of history; vivid scenes; and vital, fully realized people, particularly the slaves with their many shades of color and modes of survival."
--"The Associated Press"
"A storytelling tour de force."
"Compelling, tragic, comic, tender and mystical ... This is a beautiful book, well crafted and textured. It combines the historical significance of Kathryn Stockett's "The Help" with the wisdom of Toni Morrison's "Beloved.""
--"Minneapolis Star Tribune
""Odell has written one of those beautiful Southern tales with unforgettable characters. Required reading."
--"New York Post
"A gripping, beautiful, and moving tale ... Add it to your summer reading list -- you'll be glad that you did."
""A real page turner."
"Engrossing ... Bound to be compared to Kathryn Stockett's best-selling "The Help," this historical novel probes complex issues of freedom and slavery."
--"Library Journal," starred review
"A terrific novel that will take its place in the distinguished pantheon of Southern fiction. Like "The Help," that showstopping work by Kathryn Stockett, "The Healing" is another Mississippi-born work of art and Odell's Polly Shine is a character for the ages."
--Pat Conroy, author of "The Prince of Tides" and "South of Broad
""Jonathan Odell won me over with his fresh take on an 1860's Mississippi plantation, and the connective power of story to heal body, mind and community. Long after closing the novel's final pages, I'm still marveling about Polly Shine, an inventively subversive slave healer, and a character I won't soon forget."
--Lalita Tademy, author of" Cane River," an Oprah's Book Club selection, and "Red River"
"Compelling, tragic, comic, tender and mystical. . . . Combines the historical significance of Kathryn Stockett's "The Help "with the wisdom of Toni Morrison's "Beloved."" --"Minneapolis Star-Tribune"
"A terrific novel that will take its place in the distinguished pantheon of Southern fiction.... Polly Shine is a character for the ages." --Pat Conroy, author of "The Prince of Tides "
"A storytelling tour de force." --"Atlanta Journal-Constitution"
"Jonathan Odell won me over with his fresh take on an 1860's Mississippi plantation, and the connective power of story to heal body, mind and community." --Lalita Tademy, author of" Cane River
"A remarkable rite-of-passage novel with an unforgettable character. . . . "The Healing "transcends any clichEs of the genre with its captivating, at times almost lyrical, prose; its firm grasp of history; vivid scenes; and vital, fully realized people, particularly the slaves with their many shades of color and modes of survival." --Associated Press
"Odell gives voice to strong women at a time in history when their strength might have been their undoing. When Polly Shine's fierce knowledge comes up against Granada's stubborn resistance, the reader is held captive as the two attempt to resolve their conflict and Granada is made to face her destiny. This moving story is a must-read for fans of historical fiction." --Kathleen Grissom, author of "The Kitchen House"
"A haunting tale of Southern fiction peopled with vivid and inspiring personalities. . . . Polly Shine is an unforgettable character who shows how the power and determination of one woman can inspire and transform the lives of those around her." --"Bookreporter "
"Jonathan Odell finds the right words, using the language of the day, its idiom and its music to great advantage in a compelling work that can stand up to "The Help" in the pantheon of Southern literature." --"Shelf Awareness "
"Odell has written one of those beautiful Southern tales with unforgettable characters. Required reading." --"New York Post
"Engrossing. . . . This historical novel probes complex issues of freedom and slavery." --"Library Journal" (starred review)
"When the young slave Granada Satterfield reluctantly undertakes a quest to recover her own identity, she finds that she must begin by seeking the answers to two questions: Who are my people and what are their stories? Jonathan Odell's compelling new novel "The Healing "is a lyrical parable, rich with historical detail and unflinching in the face of disturbing facts." --Valerie Martin, author of "Property
""Rich in character and incident." "--Publishers Weekly"
"""The Healing" is a moving cri de coeur for all those who yearn to be free, and for the wise women among us who understand that to subjugate one person is to subjugate all of humanity."
--Robin Oliveira, author of "My Name if Mary Sutter"
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
JONATHAN ODELL is the author of the acclaimed novel "The View from Delphi," which deals with the struggle for equality in pre-civil rights Mississippi, his home state. His short stories and essays have appeared in numerous collections. He spent his business career as a leadership coach to Fortune 500 companies and currently resides in Minnesota. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
A beautiful and touching novel worth every penny.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The healing for which the book is named refers not only to healing of the body, but also to the power of connecting through stories to heal the parts of us that can't be touched in any other way. Granada shares her life story with silent little Violet, and the telling works its magic on the psyches of both speaker and listener. Eventually Violet must come out of her silence in her eagerness to tell the parts of the story unknown to Granada.
Granada's story centers on her relationship with Polly Shine, a black folk healer and midwife from whom Granada learned the healing and intuitive arts on a Mississippi plantation in the years just before the Civil War. Polly plucked Granada from her elevated position as a house slave, recognizing that Granada had healing gifts as yet undeveloped.
Polly Shine is the sparkle in this story. Spunky and outspoken, she embodies the hope of Freedom for her people, and sows that seed of possibility in their minds until it becomes a reality. Feared by some as a conjure woman, revered by others as a miracle worker, Polly lives by her own lights and mocks her white owners.
This is a story full of heart and a little humor, carefully researched by the author, himself a white child of the South. I would pick up the book thinking I was only going to read a chapter, and before I knew it I'd read 40 or 50 pages. It's a captivating picture of plantation life and healing lore as seen through the eyes of the slaves.
My only reason for not giving this lovely book five stars is that I felt abandoned near the close of the book. It jumps forward in time, which was disappointing after I'd developed a strong attachment to Polly Shine and Granada. It felt like a rush to the finish after a careful buildup. I do love the way it ends, though, with the message of passing forward to the young ones the responsibility for remembering and respecting what their forebears endured and accomplished.
The Healing by Jonathan Odell is that book.
Granada, a young slave girl and the pampered pet of the grieving mistress, has her eyes opened and her life changed when the master buys Polly Shine, a healer. Polly immediately recognizes that Granada has the gift and Polly sets out to train Granada to take her place on the plantation.
Odell is not simply a good writer, he is a gifted writer. He, like Polly and Granada, have a gift for seeing the human soul and expressing the desires, pains and struggles of each person. In his written note at the end of the book, Odell mentions how pleased he was that after the publishing of his first novel The View from Delphi, that a reviewer thought incorrectly that he was an African American. I chucked at the mistake because several times during the novel, I found myself looking at the cover to verify that the author wasn't actually a woman. This novel is an incredible and beautiful tribute to women and the sacred power of creating new life. Odell writes about these topics so tenderly and powerfully that it seems simply impossible to believe that he is a man.
I was disappointed at the end of the novel, simply because I had reached the end. I would have liked to read so much more about Polly Shine, Granada and the others who worked the Satterfield plantation. With careful attention to historical detail, The Healing is a compelling novel with strong and memorable characters that will not soon be forgotten.
Read this book.
The essence of memory serves as a balm in The Healing. The story opens with a black woman and her young daughter (Violet) being rushed by a white man to an old woman's (Granada) backwoods home in the middle of the night for medical attention. Having seen the adults weeks earlier for a "cure" for an unwanted "problem," the woman succumbs to her injuries leaving a traumatized Violet in the care of Granada (Gran Gran). As we soon learn, everything happens for a reason - Violet and Gran Gran have more in common than either could ever imagine. Gran Gran, who feels the "gift" of sight has abandoned her, slowly reclaims it and her strength as Violet's gentle probing and questions awaken a lifetime of suppressed memories. Granada recounts her life on the nearby Satterfield plantation in the Civil War era South and it is in this retelling the reader meets the eccentric laudanum-dazed mistress whose madness sets the course of Granada's life and introduces us to the unforgettable Polly Shine, the "gifted" daughter of weavers and a wise and formidable midwife/healer, who teaches Granada the invaluable lessons of a lifetime.
The storytelling and pacing is great - I was pulled into the story from the opening pages and stayed engaged until the end; I was vested to see how it was all going to play out and was not disappointed. The atmosphere/setting is vivid, the characters are rich and realistic in their actions and motivations -- simply put -- we have it all, the good, the bad, and the ugly; some are flawed, misguided, but all are wonderfully drawn. Polly Shine instantly became one of my favorite fictional characters -- I love her and wish I could have experienced more of her life's journey. Bottom line, this book pays homage to power of the story and memory and its ability to heal a people/community and individuals; it is in the remembering of the beloved ancestors that propel and empower the living. It is one of my favorites for the year.
Reviewed by Phyllis
APOOO Literary Bookclub
December 21, 2011
While I'm not a historian, I found myself wondering, "How could I not have known what it was like to live through this time?" Thanks to this illuminating story, I have a clearer perspective.
Odell's attention to detail is astonishing, but his greatest gift to the reader is a profound insight into the human spirit. Quite simply, THE HEALING is an unforgettable story about rising above abominable circumstances and a reminder of the power of love.
This is the book I'm recommending to my all of my story loving friends.