From the cofounder of Oxford’s legendary Square Books—a stunning debut novel set in Mississippi in 1996, based on the real-life, long-unsolved murder of the author’s young stepbrother.
Mary Byrd Thornton could understand how a reporter couldn’t resist the story: a nine-year-old boy sexually molested and killed on Mother's Day, 1966. A suspect to whom nothing would stick. A neighborhood riddled with secrets. No one, especially the bungling or complicit authorities, had been able to solve the crime. Now, thirty years later, the reporter’s call will reel a reluctant Mary Byrd from Mississippi back to Virginia where she must confront her family—and, once again, the murder’s irremovable stain of tragedy.
Lisa Howorth’s remarkable Flying Shoes ($26.00) is a work of fiction, but the murder is based on the still-unsolved case of her stepbrother, a front page story in the Washington Post. And yet this is not a crime novel; it is an honest and luminous story of a particular time and place in the South, where even calamitous weather can be a character, everyone has a story, and all are inextricably entwined. With a flamboyant cast, splendid dark humor, a potent sense of history, and a shocking true story at its heart, Flying Shoes is a rich and candid novel from a fresh new southern voice about family and memory and one woman’s flight from a wounded past.
Lisa Howorth was born in Washington, D.C., where her family has lived for four generations. She moved to Oxford, Mississippi, where she married her husband, Richard, and raised their three children. They opened Square Books (named by Publishers Weekly as the 2013 Bookstore of the Year) in 1979. She received the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts in 1996 and a MacDowell Colony Fellowship in 2007. Her writing has appeared in Garden & Gun and the Oxford American. This is her first novel.