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Delta Pearls


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To order, see Catalog

REVIEWS

Delta Pearls won the 2007 William Rockhill Nelson Award in fiction. Margot Livesey, noted fiction writer and writer in residence at Emerson College, judged the fiction category. She stated that Jones' stories "had a hard-edged tenderness and a feeling for the past that I found both moving and engaging."

Written by Judith Bader Jones, Delta Pearls is an anthology of very brief stories—most only a few pages long—set in the Missouri Delta. Ordinary men and women facing challenges from poverty, racism, loss, and their own personal demons populate the pages, and Jones' capture of the Missouri Delta dialogue, as well as Southern culture, atmosphere, and daily life, is exquisite. A treasury of prose gems to savor one at a time or all at once. Midwest Review

Jones views life through a positive lens--an unusual posture in our overly ironic, even cynical age. Through the course of the collection, we discern that this nonjudgmental view of life fits her interpretation of the mid-century period and the resilience of her characters--farm and small town folk, dealing with material losses and spiritual gains, while the Great River rolls by. Catherine Browder "Tales from Missouri Bayou Country," New Letters 73.3, 159. (visit www.newletters.org)

The people of Delta Pearls are as real as members of your own family, as thoroughly fascinating as only real people can be. The author . . . gently reminds us that even the worst of us has redeeming qualities, even the best of us carries sins we'd prefer buried. Judith Bader Jones is a master storyteller and this is an eloquent collection of her work. --Jacqueline Guidry, author of The Year the Colored Sisters Came to Town

Delta Pearls is a quiet jewel, rich with a lyrical magic . . . these stories sink into you, rich, sweet, and true. They beguile your spirit and fill your heart. --Deborah Shouse, author, editor and motivational speaker

These characters meet life head on and cope in ways that resonate with the most fundamental fears and strengths in all of us. --Sally Whitney, author and editor of Best's Review

In a world where technological innovation and mass media are homogenizing American English, Judith Bader Jones preserves the beauty of the vernacular language distinctive to the Missouri Delta--that "mosquito infested backdrop of civilization"--and captures the heart of people in the process of loving and losing, being and becoming. --Editors.

Cover design by Kristine Lowe-Martin.


William Rockhill Nelson Award

 

William Rockhill Nelson fiction 2007

Judith Bader Jones and Poet Laureate Ted Kooser
Kansas City, 2007
Photographer Fowler Jones




Excerpts

 

From The Petrified Man:

The moon rose round and precious, and the shadows of the twilight chased the last saved fragment of day. I slipped into my tire swing that hung from the largest cottonwood tree in our yard and pushed my knees and extended my legs as I soared. Gliding so high, I saw the Mississippi River mounding the bend to roll by our town that hid in the fold of night. And then I cried.

Soon after that night, the petrified man disappeared from the bacc of the funeral home. No one knows what happened to himi for sure. A small sign appeared in the funeral home window. It stood propped against the rose-colored drapes:

450 REWARD for information leading
to the return of the petrified man,
property of Morley Funeral Home.
Call 836 W during working hours.

From A Bus to Memphis

The Lord only knows she never meant to leave, but the heat and the smell of hogs was overbearing. Seemed the only way was to catch the Greyhoud bus and get on down to Memphis. Anna Grace always wanted to go and see something more than poor folks toting cotton from their places on a share basis and raising leghorns and pigs.

Jeremiah would raise up the devil when he found her gone, but he'd manage with the babies soon as his temper cooled and he had time to heal his aches with mudpacks from the river. He loved that river, especialy the little bib-shaped beaches that reached halfway to Tennessee when the water lay low. Hadn't she put those mudpacks on his naked body just last summer to soothe his angry muscles, sore from work? Quiet he got, like some baby, all sprawled out on the beach, naked as a jay, with the mud and rushing water.