In 1962, in Albany, Georgia, Martin Luther King Jr. tries and fails in his first attempts at nonviolent resistance. Rural churches harboring voter registration workers are routinely torched by Night Riders. Ku Klux Klan activities are at a peak, and law enforcement is often an accomplice.
Kansas Lacey is twelve years old and intensely curious about a world she devours through National Geographic magazines and endless questions for the adults around her. She has lived near Albany in Sumner, Georgia, with her grandparents and their hired help since her mother’s suicide years earlier. The Lacey family is prominent and respected, but riddled with an unspoken history of insanity, repression, addiction, and violence. Kansas catalogues these secrets as she uncovers them, determined to find out where she came from and why her mother killed herself.
Kansas’s grandfather is sheriff of Blackshear County, and the “trouble” is reaching a crescendo there. His deputy, Royce Fitzhugh, has discovered a small trophy from a long-ago lynching, a severed thumb kept preserved in a jar of formaldehyde. When Fitzhugh shows the jar to Kansas, she senses in that bit of flesh something that stirs a hushed curiosity within her. What she soon finds is a chain of revelations: mysterious creek banks embedded with past transgressions; hints of sexual malevolence; the wonder and complexity of relationships; and a growing understanding of her own family’s dark legacy.
With a big heart and an unflinching eye, Suzanne Hudson has given us a powerful coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of the dawning civil rights movement: the story of a girl who believes that in piecing together her history, she will find out who she wants to become.
Suzanne Hudson is the acclaimed author of In a Temple of Trees and Opposable Thumbs. She lives in Baldwin County, Alabama, where she is a middle-school guidance counselor and creative writing teacher.
“Suzanne Hudson must be one of the best-kept secrets in Southern literature…[she] is a writer to treasure. Her characters, from evil-tinged to bi-polar, are as real as a Southern history book, with as many skeletons in their closet as a country graveyard. In The Dark Of The Moon will move you, haunt you and remind you that the past is merely in the turn of a page.”
— Jackson Free Press
Publication Date: January 24, 2005
trim size: 5x8 Hardcover