Title: Goods & Effects
Author: Al Schnupp
Genre: Literary Fiction, Women’s Literary Fiction
Devastated by the death of her husband and sons, Hannah Mercer sells the family farm and creates a store and living quarters in a delivery truck. As she travels several circuits selling her wares, Hannah becomes the heart of a network of interlinking lives: Nathan owns the motel where Hannah often parks her truck. Darla is a young and talented deaf artist, whose parents let her accompany Hannah on her rounds. Wanda, the sassy receptionist at a hardware distribution center, has larger ambitions. Naomi, wife of the pious Mennonite deacon, entertains fantasies of sexual freedom. Frank, a gentle farmer with a chronically-ill wife, harbors great affection for Hannah, but has troubling biases. LeRoy is a black farmer and talented singer, yet his family is subjected to racial terrorism. Velma owns a woodworking shop. Is she a good match for Vivian, Ronan County's elegant, lesbian librarian?
Larry... Maddie ... Tom... Molly. As time passes and Hannah's relationships deepen, her faith diminishes but her vision of humanity expands. Hannah Mercer is a clever problem-solver, a shrewd schemer, a spinner of tender lies, an advocate for justice, and a dream weaver.
This is the story of Hannah. She lost her family and then went on a life journey. Reading this book, you get to take part in the journey with her. This was a book, let me tell you. It started and I was reading along and then the book ended. Who could have seen that coming from page 1?
In this book, I learned more about what I always thought was an obscure religion. I learned more than I cared to about life in a certain midwestern state circa the 1960s.
The book flows well with a steady feel. The story is well written and full of human emotions. The character I most enjoyed was Darla. Maddie was a close second.
The moral here must be that you can't stop. When faced with tragedy you simply continue to move forward. Hannah did that. There is a cast of characters in the book that, at times, is hard to keep track of. If you are interested in the intricacies of a quasi bible-belt small town in the '60s then this book is for you. If you are a fan of life journey novels then buy this book.
My Rating: 5 stars
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Al Schnupp is a retired faculty member of the Theatre and Dance Department of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Mr. Schnupp studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City and holds a doctorate from UCLA. He performed in summer stock and directed or designed approximately eighty productions for academic and professional theatres. For two years he was scenic designer for Wichita State University Summer Theater. Mr. Schnupp was the recipient of the Margo Jones National Playwriting Award for the play My Body, awarded by Texas Women’s University. His play, Censored, about the life of artist Käthe Kollwitz, was produced professionally at The Invisible Theatre. His improvisational game book Bravo! was published by Meriwether Published Ltd. The Stone Circle, a full-length adult puppet show, was co-authored and designed by Mr. Schnupp; the show was produced at the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta and won an UNIMA International Citation of Excellence. Zero to Infinity, in its original form as a play, was selected to be performed at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, Region 8 Festival and was produced at Cayuga Community College. The Site was produced at the American Theatre of Actors in New York City and at Walkerspace in New York City. Living Stones was produced at Cal Poly and showcased in Los Angeles. Antigone and Letters to Soldiers Lost was produced at Cal Poly and in New York by Auburn Players. He is the author of The MerryWinkle International Troupe of Vagabonds Performs a Delicious Potpourri of Fantastical Fairy Tales and Astonishing Folk Legends. His play CrossRoads won an Art Inspires grant and was produced in New York at Cayuga Community College. The Collection, a play about art collector Peggy Guggenheim that featured fifty interactive paintings, toured Central California. inclusivity – the Ivy Bottini Story was produced at Emerald Theatre in Memphis, Tennessee. GOODS & EFFECTS, a novella, has been published by Golden Antelope Press. As a visual artist, Al participates in a variety of art and craft festivals in California and has shown his work in several galleries. Zero, a novella based on the play, Zero to Infinity, is published by Cabal Books. Website: www.playsanddesigns.com
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Reviewed by: Mr. N