Thursday, August 5, 2010

Cliff Coon's "The Mending String"

The Reverend Clayton Loverage and his youngest daughter Ellen live together in their home, the reverend a widower and 16-year-old Ellen counting the days until she graduates from high school and can leave home. He exists for his church and his position at church; she lives to read, and escapes to her English teacher’s house and uses a hidden key to gain entrance, read and listen to music.


Then a faction at the church decides it’s time for the pastor to retire, or find another congregation. And Ellen finds a photograph in her teacher’s house, a photograph that turns out to be her father as a teenager. And then a book of photographs. And then a binder. And the Loverage’s placid life begins to unravel.

Cliff Coon’s The Mending String is all about relationships – between a pastor and his daughter, between a teenage girl and a new friend, old but not forgotten loves, dysfunctional families, and church families whose attitudes border on ruthlessness to achieve their goals. Coons mixes it all up into a extremely satisfying story that contains enough twists and turns to keep the reading guessing as to how it will end.

The characters are real and recognizable. The unbending pastor, the daughter who loves her father but yearns to escape, the conniving congregational members convinced they have the good of the church at heart, even the English teacher who has not gotten over her first love – the characters are drawn true. The heart of the story is the father and daughter. As their carefully constructed worlds collapse around them, Clayton and Ellen begin to reach toward each other.

Published in 2004, The Mending String was nominated for and received the Christy Award for best first novel. Coons, however, died a few weeks before the awards program. He left this novel as his sole work of fiction, and a fitting tribute it is.

6 comments:

n. davis rosback said...

sounds like a good read.

M.L. Gallagher said...

Glynn, I'd say you've got to stop giving me so many potential good reads... but it wouldn't be true -- please don't stop awakening me to so many good reads!

Sheila Siler said...

As a pastor's kid - I find this very appealing. I'm going to go to the library today and get it!

Sheila Siler said...

Oh no, just looked online and see that my library doesn't have it. Will have to check out the bookstores.

JC Dude said...

Brother...must you add to my already bogged down reading list? You always seem to find the good ones! Thanks!

建邱勳 said...

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