In a 1987 article, Southern Magazine called Madison Jones’s A Cry of Absence “the last pure tragedy written by a Southerner.” Set in 1957 in a small Tennessee town just awakening to shifting racial and social attitudes, the novel concerns the inevitability of change and the consequences for those who resist it.
Hester Cameron Glenn, a proud, well-bred southern aristocrat, is the self-appointed guardian of her family’s and her community’s heritage. When a young black man is chained to a tree and stoned to death, Hester deplores the brutality of the act. Slowly she comes to suspect, and finally to know, who the real murderer is, and she decides what she must do to protect the family honor.
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