Spotswood, Virginia is an engaging collection of stories that take place in the racially troublesome mid-twentieth century south and include mob violence, political cowardice, family conflict, and mental illness. The focus of the collection is on everyday people forced to make decisions in a morally confused and deeply divided world. As a writer and a native of the south, Bourne presents the conflicts faced by her characters as honestly as she can without judging their choices, crafting illustrations of humanity and the heart.
In “Memorial Mansion,” a politically naïve librarian is caught between her empathy for a black teacher and her deep love for her racist son. An ambitious politician in “Massive Resistance” strives to convince himself and his family that his conservative politics will somehow redeem the racist south. In “Dirty Dora,” an academically backward young girl is sent to reform school for dancing with a black man. A love-sick paper boy in “Going Under” tries to save a sexually provocative high school girl by bringing her to God. These are a few of the nine stories and one novella in Spotswood, Virginia. Bourne witnessed and represents outrages that still ring true to life in America today.
Stephen F. Austin State University Press
200 pages, paperback