Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Big Stone Gap

Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani was the library book club book of the month. The club met yesterday for lunch and we had a wonderful discussion about this book.

This is Ms. Trigiani debut novel and it is set in 1970s Blue Ridge Mountains. Her heroine, Ave Maria Mulligan, possesses strength, dignity, as well as vulnerability when she sets out on the most important journey of her life - the search for authentic identity and fulfillment in love. The character of Ave Maria is believable and the supporting characters are a delight to read. The Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia are wonderfully depicted and visually real and gracious.

Ave Maria is shattered by the death of her beloved, immigrant mother, and she faces middle-age as an independent, but lonely woman. Ms. Trigiani sculpts her novel around Ave Maria's inability to feel, to act on impulses of love, to become something other than Big Stone Gap's sensible, efficient, spinster-like institution.

Soon enough, Ave Maria must determine not only how to treat multiple marriage proposals but to come to grips with her own startling origins. Ms. Trigiani is simply extraordinary in he resolution of Ave Maria's quest for identity, never compromising real epiphany for cliched answers. Ms. Trigiani prophetically states that
"the great mysteries in life can only be solved person to person. We can pull each other through."
Americans are lucky to have yet another Southern woman to be our guide to the truths of the heart.

I really enjoyed this book because it allowed me to view the people indiginous to this region as more than toothless illiterates. (I live in a town just a few hours from Big Stone Gap.) This book was a pleasure because Ms. Trigiani's affection for these people is most touching and it's how I've come to feel. People are more than their "twangy" accents or improper grammar.

8 comments:

Tracie said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE the Big Stone Gap series. I think there are now 4 books in it but I only own 3 of them. I stumbled upon it about 5 years ago and just love them. I recommend reading the others to follow these characters on the rest of their journeys.

Stephanie said...

I really loved this book, but was disappointed with the second in the series. Maybe you will like it better.

Vickie said...

Oh Bobbi! I am enamoured of this series. The best thing about it, the town does exist. DH grew up in a little town of Clintwood just down the road from there. We went back this summer for his nephew's college graduation at University of Virginia at Wise and DH made reservations at a hotel there in Big Stone Gap just for me. Now, there's not much to the town, but all of the area is gorgeous. The coal mines are being cleaned up and planted with grasses and trees.
I gave a set of the books to my sister and a set to my mom. They both enjoy the series as much as I.
So glad you liked it so much.

Jena said...

I love this series. My aunt turned me onto it, and I've only read the first three, though I've picked up the fourth. I really want to reread them before I read the fourth, but my copies are all over the place--one here, two in Ohio, one in a box here or there...

Lynn Irwin Stewart said...

I suppose I should check these out -- being a southern woman and a writer (though unpublished). I tend to read historical novels over anything else so I probably miss out on a lot of good books that way (not that I'm hurting for anything to read).

Nicola said...

I have this on my bedside tible and can't wait to get to it. Great review!

Becca said...

I love this series - now you get to read all the rest! They're good on audio book too.

Enjoy 'em!

Marg said...

I have been meaning to read this book for ages! One day I will get to it.