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"Little Altars Everywhere" is a national bestseller, a companion to Rebecca Wells' s celebrated novel "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood." Originally published in 1992, "Little Altars" introduces Sidda, Vivi, the rest of the spirited Walker Clan, and the indomitable Ya-Yas. It is now available for the first time in hardcover.
Told in alternating voices of Vivi and her husband, Big Shep, along with Sidda, her siblings Little Shep, Lulu, Baylor, and Cheney and Willetta--the black couple who impact the Walkers' lives in ways they may never fully comprehend--"Little Altars" embraces nearly thirty years of life on their plantation in Thorton, Louisiana, where the cloying air of the bayou and a web of family secrets of once shelter, trap, and define an utterly original community of souls.
Who can resist the rich cadences of Sidda Walker and her flamboyant, secretive mother, Vivi? Here, the young Sidda--a precocious reader and an eloquent observer of the fault lines that divide her family--leads us her mischievous adventures at Our Lady of Divine Compassion parochial school and beyond. A Catholic girl of pristine manners, devotion, and provocative ideas, Sidda is the very essence of childhood joy and sorrow.
In a series of luminous reminiscences, we also hearLittle Shep' s stories of his eccentric grandmother, Lulu' s matter-of-fact account of her shoplifting skills, and Baylor' s memories of Vivi and her friends, the Ya-Yas.
Beneath the humor and tight-knit bonds of family and friendship lie the undercurrents of alcoholism, abuse, and violence. The overlapping recollections of how the Walker' s charming life uncoils to convey their heartbreaking confusion are at once unsettling and familiar. Wells creates an unforgettable portrait and funny attempts to keep reality at arm' s length. Through our laughter, we feel their inevitable pain, with a glimmer of hope for forgiveness and healing.
An arresting combination of colloquialism, poetry, and grace, "Little Altars Everywhere" is an insightful, piercing, and unflinching evocation of childhood, a loving tribute to the transformative power of faith, and a thoroughly fresh chronicle of a family that is as haunted as it is blessed.
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