Blue Sabine is a story of five generations of women
in the same family, told in their voices, along with those
of some men of Holt blood. It is set along the Sabine River,
which divides the state of Texas from Louisiana and the Deep
South. From 1867 (when the Holts first came to Texas) to the
present, the novel chronicles the emotional lives of grandmothers,
mothers, daughters, and nieces, all bound by kinship and history.
Each comes to terms with being a woman in the West, in Texas,
and in her own way and her own time. In its flow and its setting
of boundaries, the Sabine
River comes to reflect what remains and what changes in the
way the Holt women see their world and themselves.
river forever flows, and it pulls at all it touches,”
one of the characters says, “yet it
never leaves, and it never stays.” Two twenty-first
century descendants give the narrative its overall shape and
connection: Clement, an award-winning movie director, and
his cousin Kay-Phuong, a woman of Vietnamese and Holt lineage,
who has made herself into a fashion model and actress. They
have returned to the Valley of the Sabine, where the Holts
have lived for almost two hundred years, to hear once more
the old stories and to confirm their own part in the saga.
They seek to understand and to play their role in the continuing
telling and retelling of the narratives that bind them to
their family and to the past.
Sabine is a big, spellbinding novel, as deep and complex
as the Texas river for which it’s named. The mystery
and relevance of the past is Gerald Duff’s great theme,
as he masterfully traces one family’s history from the
Civil War to the present day. His great characters are all
astonishing storytellers, with true and compelling voices
that will ring in my head forever.”
Smith, author of Mrs. Darcy and the Blue-Eyed Stranger
and On Agate Hill
Sabine [is] a veritable saga of insights, intimacies
and intimations. The characters are obsessed with their family,
and the reader iscompletely caught up in this American story
set in the historic valley of the Sabine.”
—Roy Blount Jr., author of Alphabetter Juice: The
Joy of Text
Duff grew up in the petro-chemical area of
the Gulf Coast and the pine barrens of Deep East Texas. He
worked as a hand in the oil fields and the cotton fields,
as a janitor, as a TV cameraman, as a professor of English,
as a college dean, and as a bit actor in television drama.
Blue Sabine is his seventh novel. His other titles
include Indian Giver; That’s All Right,
Mama: The Unauthorized Life of Elvis’s Twin; Memphis
Ribs, and Coasters.
6x9, 320 pages
Distributed for Moon City Press.