Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Lost Saints of Tennessee

The Lost Saints of Tennessee: A Novel
Amy Franklin-Willis
Atlantic Monthly Press
February 2012
ISBN: 978-0802120052
320 pages

“Moses Washington always says people love the beginning parts of life, it’s the middle and end parts
that end up being more work than we bargain for.”

What is the old saying about falling off a horse? If you fall off a horse, you get right back on.

In The Lost Saints of Tennessee, Ezekiel Cooper has fallen off of his horse in life. His ex-wife has just
remarried. He was fired for deserting his job. He’s back living in the converted shed in his mother’s
backyard. His mother wants to have a memorial service for his twin brother who committed suicide ten
years ago. Nothing seems to be going right for Zeke. Of course, Zeke is not making much of an effort
to change his life for the better either. It’s like he’s fallen on a horse but refuses to get back on.

This is the story of a working-class Southern family who dream of possibilities for their prized son
while the siblings continue the pattern of previous generations of poverty. However, broken dreams also bring about way too much guilt.

While at a class reunion Zeke manages to avoid the event and leaves town. He finally decides how to end things with his two favorite possessions, his dead brother’s dog and a copy of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Things don’t quite work out though like he planned, but then again, they seldom do.

This is a novel about life and how some of us don’t know how to pick up the pieces once we find
ourselves shattered. It involves the reluctant changes that happen such as having daughters who are
becoming teenagers, divorces, and death.

The Lost Saints of Tennessee is a gripping tale of characters that are richly developed and actually seem
too realistic. The story line, even though somewhat depressing, is a personal journey, mistakes made
and exposed to everyone. Life is frequently more than we bargained for. Read The Lost Saints of

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