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Same Blood

Houghton Mifflin

Ballantine Books
 February, 1990


from the jacket cover:

The primitive, the supernatural, and the vigorous beauty of the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York distinguish this bold and haunting new novel. Margaret Becker, a single mother getting by on food stamps and social services, wrests for herself an unusual peace in this backwoods world. Comic and moving in turns, Margaret’s journey encompasses her unique extended family: Beulah, Tappen, and Doro, who take her into their odd but loving household; Jo, the town prostitute she befriends; and Billy, the abandoned boy Margaret adopts after her own child dies. The bonds among them are strong, often mute, and intensely intuitive as they move through the passages that mark rural life: birth, sex, survival, death, loss, violence, protection, the raising of children. Margaret transforms the curses and accidents of her life as she learns to control her extraordinary power—a power of reception and a control that knows how to give way. She knows, in Jo’s words, how “everything comes from luck and you can’t worry if it’s bad or good ’cause you can’t tell which is which anyway.” From the black-and-white velour dice that hang from a ’73 Chevy to the midnight porcupine kill in Tappen’s barn, Same Blood resonates with a compellingly honest voice. Out of the raw physical reality of poverty and disadvantage emerges a remarkable view of the myths and beliefs that heal.


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