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November 10 , 2009

Signals from a Lampless Beacon

:Beasts of Burden


A long-dark lamp is rekindled.

The South is unshrouded from the Gothic cloth woven by so many poets, dramatists, and novelists of stature. Characters share their obsessive lunacies and tragic error with the rest of humankind; their heritage of cultivation, moral strength, and compassion is allowed to stand forth in a chronicle of two races, of three families, of four generations, beginning in Wartime of 1941-1945.

Abduction aboard a U-boat; violation, suicide, and intimations of redemption; global amnesia, its complications, its release; extortion by a priest prepared?he supposes?to commit murder in the process; falling in love; losing one?s love; near-drowning at the climax of an idiosyncratic deer-shoot?these are elements of a story punctuated by homilies from a clergyman wandering quietly away from Christian orthodoxy toward heresy...or toward Apollonian light.

If the story ends, its symbols and themes need not; no more than ends Mr. Benny Ormond, veteran of the Great War who has escaped so many threats to life to which those around him have succumbed that he comes to suspect, against his better judgement, that he is destined not to see death.

Throughout, the reader is directed away from the sense of man?s possession of God to a beginning grasp of God as Self-transcendent...leaving an apparent emptiness, into which, however, for the watchful, signals pour, saying, ?Lift up your Hearts.?

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