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 Short Story Collection Review    



Heaven in a Hole in the Ground: And Other Earthy Stories
by Ann R. Davis
Blackberry Books, 2003
Trade paper, $12.95  (206 pages)
ISBN: 0-9728386-3-5
  Ann Davis has penned a collection of twelve southern gothic tales that are haunting in the beauty of the language as well as through the subject matter. Drawing on her gifts as an artist, the descriptions visually leap off the pages.

The title story, "Heaven in a Hole in the Ground" follows a young wife burdened with a life harder than her birthright. Near death with child, a neighboring black woman comes over to care for the young wife and her children. Delirious with fever, the black woman places the young wife on a quilt in a shallow open grave each day. The cool earth draws the fever out, and the young wife draws strength from the fresh air and sounds of nature around her. She is reborn.

"Burying Sin" is a humorous tale to which any family can relate. The narrator reflects negatively on the family members at a graveside service. Then their attention is drawn to a snake sunning on the marble. Soon the snake crawls up the preacher's pant leg, causing him to dance in unseemly fashion. As the snake escapes, the narrator's reflections become more endearing and tender to the family members.  

The collection ends with the author's memoir "Mimosa" about her treehouse in a mimosa that became her refuge from the eccentric and tense events of life. It captures the strange amusements on Highway 17 near Savannah, the international human mixture of the coast, and the power of religion.

Savannah native Ann R. Davis returned to coastal Georgia after living in North Carolina, Tennessee, New Mexico and Florida. A professional sculptor and painter, her writing is inspired in visual dreams and reflects her faith and love of rural life.


Joyce Dixon
Southern Scribe Reviews

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