Weaving together the lives of blacks and whites, racists and civil rights advocates, and the events of peaceful protest and violent repression, Sena Jeter Naslund creates a tapestry of American social transformation at once intimate and epic.
In Birmingham, Alabama, twenty-year-old Stella Silver, an idealistic white college student, is sent reeling off her measured path by events of 1963. Combining political activism with single parenting and night-school teaching, African American Christine Taylor discovers she must heal her own bruised heart to actualize meaningful social change. Inspired by the courage and commitment of the civil rights movement, the child Edmund Powers embodies hope for future change. In this novel of maturation and growth, Naslund makes vital the intersection of spiritual, political, and moral forces that have redefined America.
About the Author
Sena Jeter Naslund is a cofounder and program director of the Spalding University (Louisville) brief-residency MFA in Writing, where she edits The Louisville Review and Fleur-de-Lis Press. A winner of the Harper Lee Award and the Southeastern Library Association Fiction award, she is the author of eight previous works of fiction, including Ahab's Wife, a finalist for the Orange Prize. She recently retired from her position as Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Louisville.
“Filled with the fear Naslund witnessed, the characters ...come to life ....Naslund succeeds splendidly in making history a page-turner.”
“Vital and moving...It’s as if Virginia Woolf went down to Birmingham to cover the civil rights struggle.”
-New York Times Book Review
“A major novel of great cultural and historical importance.”
-Louisville Courier Journal
“This is a brave and multifaceted book, propelled by a mission, and ...it is a page-turner.”
“...A compelling picture of the South and the civil rights movement during one of its pivotal moments.”
“...contains one of the most astonishing pieces of writing to appear in any novel of recent memory.
“This is a wonderful, wonderful novel ...[Naslund] has blown a deep breath of life into Four Spirits.”
-Detroit Free Press
“Crisp, insightful writing.”
-Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“Naslund’s insight and craftsmanship ...capture the complexities and cultural nuances of the times.”
-San Diego Union-Tribune
“Told in beautifully crafted prose, this is a moving, historically accurate tale of a time of social transformation.”
-Library Journal (starred review)