It Was the Goodness of The Place: A Novel
Lucinda Dixon Sullivan (2003)
$15.00 hardback

It Was the Goodness of the Place is a book that will break your heart and leave you glad that it is broken because you're all the more alive for the breaking. In luminous language, Lucinda Dixon Sullivan reaffirms the flawed worlds of all our childhoods and gives us hope as resonant as grief. 
Gabe Phillips, Clara's beloved father, is an odd-footed man who ruins his private world through his anger, lust, and arrogance. Yet, he elevates his community through his determination, hard work, and financial acumen in the tobacco business. Despite Gabe's flaws, the reader prays that Gabe's ardent efforts to reconstruct what has been shattered will succeed. His earthy, intelligent wife struggles both to achieve an independent self, after she leaves Gabe, and to reclaim the passion of her coupled life. Young Clara, a character as appealing as Scout of To Kill a Mockingbird, but more complex and vulnerable, tries to create a wondrous reality for herself and those she loves—her divorced parents and Nonie, her aging friend and mentor. Against this quartet rages the crazed Ira Truitt, who believes himself to be the right arm of an unforgiving God. to hold them all, Sullivan hand-builds the small towns, tobacco-growing farms, blighted mining communities, and renewing rivers of Kentucky. 
Like the old tragedies, this book has its share of violence; through the pity and terror of the story, It Was the Goodness of the Place illumines the inherent worth of human potential.


Praise for It Was the Goodness of The Place
It Was the Goodness of the Place shimmers along humanity’s fault lines with unerring wisdom, clarity, and grace. Lucinda Dixon Sullivan casts a steady, sure light onto the souls of her characters, revealing hardscrabble patches of pure terror but also verdant landscapes seeded with hope, decency, and redemption. This is a stunning debut.
–Connie May Fowler, When Katie Wakes, Before Women Had Wings

Lucinda Dixon Sullivan captures the time and place of this novel so brilliantly that I felt as if I had stepped back to mid-century and found a fully realized town called Milan, Kentucky. The plot never loosens its grip and the language is beautiful, tight and graceful. It Was the Goodness of the Place is a completely wonderful novel and Lucinda Dixon Sullivan is a stunning new voice.
–Silas House, A Parchment of Leaves
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