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 Literary Classic Review    

 

 
Almost Family
By Roy Hoffman
University of Alabama Press (A Deep South Series Reprint), 2000
Trade paperback, $15.95 (248 pages)
ISBN: 0-8173-1031-2
 
 
 

Originally published in 1983, Roy Hoffman's first novel, Almost Family won a Lillian Smith Award and was honored by the Alabama Library Association as "Book of the Year." Now available in paperback, the book resonates with truth. 

Set in Mobile, Alabama in the years from 1946 - 1971 and told in episodes, Almost Family is the story of two women, Nebraska Waters and Vivian Gold. Nebraska Waters, a black woman, has worked for Vivian Gold, a Jewish woman for almost thirty years and has become "almost family." 

The two women have shared cups of coffee, their concerns about their husbands and children, and the small pleasures of daily living. The women's families affect their relationship. Particularly the two youngest, Vivian Waters and Benjamin Gold, both of whom were born in the same year and both of whom are coming of age in the Civil Rights South. 

The novel's great strength is in the author's portrayal of the ways in which blacks and whites' lives have always been closely linked in the deep south. 

Hoffman, a native of Mobile, Alabama, writes for the Mobile Register. His non-fiction has been collected in BACK HOME: Journeys Through Mobile (University of Alabama Press, ISBN: 0-8173-1045-2) and a second novel, Chicken Dreaming Corn is scheduled for publication in January 2003.

 

Pam Kingsbury
Southern Scribe Reviews

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