Deborah Johnson | Mississippi Novel
February 22, 2008
We had the great pleasure of speaking with Deborah Johnson on the show today, a great first-time author of a wonderful American novel. Her father was an African-American physician, and his soul, and hers, are certainly in the book. Listen in to find out more.
From Publisher’s Weekly:
In Johnson’s vivid debut, Revere, Miss., is a 1966 small town teetering on the brink of integration. Willie B. Tate Jr., a 10-year-old black boy known as Critter, drives poor white man Billy Ray Puckett to the whites-only emergency room after Billy Ray has a hunting accident. Caught up in the middle of the fallout after Billy Ray’s unexpected death is Dr. Cooper Connelly, a prominent white doctor who serves on the school board and has controversial prointegration views. Cooper is a man with secrets, including why he keeps company with Madame Melba Obrensky, a raceless woman with a mysterious past who manages to keep herself well-apprised of all sides of the town’s doings. Melba happens to be the next-door neighbor of Dr. Reese Jackson, a respected black physician who has managed to cross the race barrier and establish his practice on Main Street. As the heat of the school board meetings about integration and of the investigation into Billy Ray’s death increase, the atmosphere becomes explosive. Johnson tries to squeeze too much out of the limited plot, but compelling character studies keep pages turning.