The Gods of Green County (Hardcover)

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In the small hours of the morning, Buddy Harper is shot and killed by Sheriff Wiley Slocum outside a bar in the small town of Paradise, Arkansas. Inevitably, questions are asked: Was it murder? Self defense? Why was Buddy there in the first place? Later, at the trial, Sheriff Slocum, represented by lawyer Leroy Harrison, is ostensibly cleared of any wrongdoing, and things quickly return to normal in this sleepy southern town–but not for Coralee, Buddy’s younger sister, who continues to be haunted by the event. 

Told from the perspective of Coralee, Leroy Harrison, and Coralee’s husband Big Earl, The Gods of Green County, by Mary Elizabeth Pope, is an intricately constructed novel, where the chapters fit together like the pieces of a puzzle, forming a picture that remains elusive until the final piece suddenly and tragically falls into place. Pope’s novel reminds us that the sins of the past are often buried just below the surface but that obsessively searching for them can blind us to the needs of the moment and lead to sins anew.  

— Brian


Coralee Harper struggles for justice for her dead brother and her own sanity in Depression-era rural Arkansas.

In 1926 in rural Green County, Arkansas, where cotton and poverty reign, young Coralee Harper hopes for a family and a place in her community, but when her brother Buddy is killed by a powerful sheriff, she can't recover from his death or the injustice of his loss. When she begins to spot her dead brother around town, she wonders--is she clairvoyant, mistaken, or is she losing her mind?

What Coralee can't fathom is that there are forces at work that threaten her and the very fabric of the town: Leroy Harrison, a newly minted, ambitious lawyer who makes a horrible mistake, landing him a judgeship and a guilty conscience for life; an evangelical preacher and his flock of snake-handling parishioners; the women of the town who, along with Coralee's own mother, make up their own kind of jury for Coralee's behavior; Sheriff Wiley Slocum who rules the entire field, harboring dark secrets of his own; and finally, Coralee's husband Earl, who tries to balance his work at the cotton gin with his fight for family and Coralee's life.

When Coralee ends up in a sanity hearing before Judge Leroy Harrison, the judge must decide both Coralee's fate and his own. The chain of events following his decision draws him more deeply into the sheriff's far-reaching sphere of influence, and reveals the destructive nature of power, even--and especially--his own.

About the Author

Mary Elizabeth Pope grew up in Michigan with roots deep in the Missouri Bootheel and Northeast Arkansas. She is Professor of English at Emmanuel College in Boston. She is the author of Divining Venus: Stories, and her work has been featured in the literary magazines Arkansas Review, Florida Review, Bellingham Review, Ascent, Passages North, and Fugue, among others. She holds a Ph.D. in English and Creative Writing from the University of Iowa. She lives outside Boston with her husband
Product Details
ISBN: 9781949467710
ISBN-10: 1949467716
Publisher: Blair
Publication Date: October 5th, 2021
Pages: 246
Language: English