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Once in a very rare while a writer appears and knocks your socks off. Their prose transcends much of what you’ve read before. Their story touches you so deeply it settles to reside in your soul.
Much has been written over the years since To kill a mockingbird was published about how it stands tall among other wonderful works. If there is any fairness in creation Accidents of birth will come to be looked upon as its equal.
The beauty and pathos of Christina Carson’s story reaches out and wraps its tendrils around your heart. So too do her words.
Centred in the small town of Ellensburg, Mississippi, this story follows the lives of a number of its inhabitants, both white and black, focusing on two families, the white Sutton’s and the black Ware’s who served them.
The story begins in the 1960s and opens with a funeral. John F Kennedy and Martin Luther King are still alive. They won’t be at the end of book 2.
Except for chapter 1, book 1 is told in the first person by Imogene Ware, a woman with more love for the human race than anyone could fairly expect of her, given her situation in life. The narration of book 2 widens to take in the voices of several other main characters, so we get to see the viewpoints from both sides of the fence.
It’s an ugly story. The racism, the hatred, the belief in superiority and inferiority are without any redeeming features.
Yet the story is told beautifully, and it leaves you feeling not repulsed by the inhumanity portrayed but uplifted by the generosity of spirit shown by the Ware family to their oppressors and—can I get away with saying it again—the beauty of the prose and Christina Carson’s skill as a storyteller.