Monday, 12 January 2009
Master of the Delta
Title: Master of the Delta
Author: Thomas H Cook
Number of pages:
Started: 7 January 2009
Finished: 12 January 2009
was badly shaped by my good fortune and so failed to see the darkness and the things that darkness hides. Until the stark moment came, evil remained distant to me, mere lecture notes on the crimes of armies, mobs, and bloodthirsty individuals whose heinous acts I could thrillingly present to my captive audience of students.
For that reason, it wasn’t unusual that I was thinking of old King Herod that morning, the torment of his final days, his rotting genitals, how they’d swarmed with worms. It was a vision of guilt and punishment, of afflictions deserved by an abuser of power, and I knew that at some point during the coming semester I’d find a place for it in one of my lectures.
It was a bright April morning in 1954, a little less than one hundred years since the beginning of a conflict that had, by the time it ended, orphaned half the children of the South.
I was twenty-four years old, and for the last three years had taught at Lakeland High School. At that time, Lakeland was typically demarcated by race and class, with a splendid plantation district, where my father still lived, and a New South section where local tradesmen and shop owners congregated in modest one-story houses strung together on short, tree-lined streets. The workers who manned the town’s few factories resided in an area known as Townsend, and which consisted of small houses on equally small lots, though large enough to accommodate the vague hint of a lawn. To the east of them lived that class of people for whom, as goes the ancient story, there has never been room at the inn, and which was known as the Bridges.
Read an excerpt here
Eddie Miller is known as the 'Coed Killer's son' since his father murdered and dismembered the body of a college girl when Eddie was a five years old. While Eddie chafes under the legacy of this soiled family name, Jack, scion of an aristocratic southern family, enjoys only respect when he returns from college to teach in Lakeland, Mississippi, his home town. While teaching the unlucky Eddie, Jack begins to see that there is more to this young man than most people have perceived: this is someone of real promise, struggling under a grim family legacy. Jack persuades Eddie to directly tackle the past and find out the truth about his father. But there are people opposed to this idea: the school principal, the local sheriff and even Jack's own uncommunicative father. Inevitably, some dark truths emerge, and lives are irrevocably changed.
What I thought:
There is something I find so appealing about Thomas H Cook’s books. There is a darkness about them that just draws me in. The opening words to this book had just that effect and I found myself reading the book knowing it would not end well.
I can’t quite describe what I like about this book. It isn’t packed with action and really it is the retelling of a story that drops snippets here and there to build a picture that builds up to the foretold bad ending. But Cook writes so well and really knows how to weave a story together so that you are totally engrossed in what he writes.
I have not come across anyone I know who has read his books and yet I think people are really missing out by not doing so. They are dark and brooding books that are well written with engaging plots. My only issue with this book was the title, which I didn’t think was right for the story. Read any of his books though, they are excellent reads.