Josephine Johnson – Now In November

267115Marget stands on the hill between the great rift between moderns and post-moderns, and suffers silently for all of the optimists of the ages crushed beneath the strain of duty and fire that burns for a desire outside ourselves and roles rigidly constructed for us by our culture. Johnson is saying a lot of things about life and the world and time with this novel. Johnson’s first novel is a foray into a wide arena of literature. This novel is stunning. I was completely blind-sided by this novel, which is everything that I had hoped this journey would be bring out – diamonds in the rough. I discovered one a long time ago reading James Agee – A Death in the Family. i can’t remember what prompted me to read Agee, but whatever got me involved with his mysterious novel, I am deeply indebted to that source of inspiration. Agee is a mystical writer whose story is hard to get to the bottom of, and because of his impossible story and is painfully beautiful writing, I have become completely enamored with everything he has ever written. I hope that Johnson will be a similar literary character for me. The journey is worth the discovery, and relationship forged is everything a reader wishes for a devotion to a writer. Johnson’s wikipedia page is tiny, and the Now in November page is even slimmer. All of this leads to a great find for us pulitzer readers, Johnson’s novel stands outside of time and context. It is a piercingly simple novel written with a sly eloquence that is understated with a slight decadence. There are handcuffs, walls, or boundaries that all serious fiction rubs its back against and no one wants to cross: the very, very thin line between dramatic and melodramatic. Where tension becomes a parody of itself. Johnson stradles that line with her first novel which her wiki page says she wrote when she was 24 which is a startling achievement.

For all of you who haven’t read this novel, there are only a few of these pulitzers that I will give this unanymous endorsement for – read this novel. Without any condition, without any preparation, without any introduction – read this novel. You will love it. Johnson wrote this novel in the heart of the depression about a Midwestern farm that suffers with the audience Johnson was writing to. A novel doesn’t do this. A novel never comes at the time this novel must have come. This came out, this is almost prophetic to what was to come to those reading it. It is incredible. There are scenes in this novel, images that will stay with you a life time. The fire, the drouth, the mules, so many things that I wish I could see outside of my mind’s eye. This was almost a perfect novel. I don’t say that often, but I loved this book, and it leaps into my top ten all time in a hurry.


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