This One and Magic Life : A Novel of a Southern Family

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-09-29
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publications
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When a Southern family gathers for the funeral at its homestead above the waters of Mobile Bay, it must carry out the last wish of the aunt and sister whom it has come to mourn. This wish will unearth a terrible secret, one that will either tear her siblings and their offspring apart or allow them to accept buried memories, wounds, and love.


This One and Magic Life
A Novel of a Southern Family

Chapter One


The Bay. It draws her these last few nights of her dying. She rises from her bed that has been placed downstairs, and, careful not to wake Mrs. Randolph, opens the front door and steps onto the porch.

She is weak, but the pain is distant, like a thunderstorm held at the horizon. She crosses the yard slowly and rests at the top of the steps that lead to the beach. The air is warm, moist, and still. She feels it settling around her. Then slowly she begins her descent. Sea oats brush against her hands as she clasps the railing.

She pulls off her nightgown, folds it on the last step, and crosses the narrow beach to the water. The sand is cool to her bare feet, but the water is warm and quiet as bathwater. She walks into it and sits down, then lies back, one arm beneath her head.

The moon is a cup spilling out stars. Was it Papa who had said that once? Or had she read it? It doesn't matter. She sees that it is true. Stars drop from the sky, burning, into the bay.

She could sleep here like a baby in its sea of amniotic fluid. Sometimes she thinks she remembers what that was like, floating with Donnie in Sarah's belly.


Artie closes her eyes and sees them all: Donnie, her other half, Carl, her husband, Bo, her love, Dolly, child of her heart, Hektor, Zeke Pardue, Papa, Mama.

Warp and woof of her life. But, on these last few nights of her dying, it is Sarah, her mother, that Artie longs for.

When she sits up, water pools in the bony conclaves of her body. She holds her palms together, fills them with water, and, bending, pours the water slowly over her head.

This One and Magic Life
A Novel of a Southern Family
. Copyright © by Anne George. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Excerpted from This One and Magic Life by Anne George
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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