Persephone in Hell by C.F. Joyce, Westport River Publishing August 2014. Find her on amazon. com.Only $2.99 for one of the best e-reads of your life. Or buy it in print paperback for only $14.95 @ PERSEPHONE IN HELL.
Troubled teenage Glory imagines herself a mighty queen, but discovers in her 1968 Massachusetts town that even queens have to watch their heads as savages await. Glory and her family move from Boston city life to rural cow country where people have heard of Jews but never seen a real one. A coming of age tale of a girl who doesn’t understand why her sister won’t talk to her and even Mother Nature seems out to get her. She cries out to the gods for help. But nobody sees her terrible self inflicted wounds. No one is paying attention. In this coming of age debut novel, C.F. Joyce explores the roles that family histories, clashing cultures, and dysfunctions play in the life of a young girl.
Under the working title “Memories of Glory”, the novel won a HarperCollins Top 5 Gold Medal award. Here are some of the reviewer’s comments:
“It is very difficult to approach a ‘coming of age’ story, and write in such a way as to not appear clichéd, but [the author] has made a remarkably strong case. In ‘Memories of Glory’, the journey from childhood to adulthood is dealt with in a unique way; the six children in Glory’s family are used to explore various different facets of growing up. The reader is also able to understand more about the pasts of Glory’s parents and their families, allowing adult tensions to be explored too. A compelling feminist take on life dominates, but the feelings of the important men in Glory’s life are not left uncovered. The memories she recalls do not depict a clear straightforward story, rather each is a part of a puzzle which in the end paints an often brutal but fair conclusion on life…Glory is set up well as a whimsical day-dreamer. She lives in an alter-world, and her intelligence and desire to be elsewhere helps build a strong picture of her imagination. Gradually it becomes clear that the world she fashions for herself is an escape from the harsh life that she has had to lead. As a protagonist she is wonderful; her suffering is a result of both her surroundings and of universal teenage trauma: I found her hugely accessible…The use of dialogue, and the focus on different characters in each recollection, allows the reader to build a strong concept of each family member, and their relationships with one another. This is a vibrant read, and no connection is left unexplored. Friendship, as well as sibling rivalry, is beautifully drawn out…The author clearly has a gift for wit and charm, illustrated in the passage where the family go blueberry picking…The role of “Mother Nature”, of fate and fortune, is an interesting theme and one that gives an interesting dimension to the family’s attitude.”