Saints in Limbo
"River Jordan's Saints in Limbo is a compelling story of the mysteries of existence and, specially, the mysteries of the human heart."^-Ron Rash, author of "Serena and Chemistry" and Other Stories ^"I lose myself in River's writing-transported to a different...
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"River Jordan's Saints in Limbo is a compelling story of the mysteries of existence and, specially, the mysteries of the human heart."^-Ron Rash, author of "Serena and Chemistry" and Other Stories ^"I lose myself in River's writing-transported to a different time and place- and in this case, to one that makes the ordinary mystical and magical. I give it FIVE diamonds in the Pulpwood Queen's TIARA "^-Kathy L. Patrick, founder of the Pulpwood Queens Book Clubs and author of "The Pulpwood Queens' Tiara Wearing, Book Sharing Guide to Life ^"Ever since her husband Joe died, Velma True's world has been limited to what she can see while clinging to one of the multicolored threads tied to the porch railing of her home outside Echo, Florida. ^When a mysterious stranger appears at her door on her birthday and presents Velma with a special gift, she is rattled by the object's ability to take her into her memories-a place where Joe still lives, her son Rudy is still young, unaffect
Praise for Saints in Limbo "River Jordan's Saints in Limbo is a compelling story of the mysteries of existence and, especially, the mysteries of the human heart." RON RASH, author of Serena and Chemistry and Other Stories "River Jordan's artful writing style is utterly captivating. Add to that the heartfelt, intriguing story line of Saints in Limbo, and you're hooked." T. LYNN OCEAN, author of Sweet Home Carolina and the Jersey Barnes Mysteries "In the quiet of light and shadow, on what portends to be an ordinary day, miracles and magic envelop Velma True, a widow, a mother, and a lonely woman who does not suffer fools. Readers will care deeply about Velma's life: her past, her present, her future, and her good heart. Saints in Limbo brims with truth and insists on hope. River Jordan has written a lyrical and relentlessly beautiful book." CONNIE MAY FOWLER, author of Before Women Had Wings and The Problem with Murmur Lee " Saints in Limbo is a lyrical and transcendent novel that will linger with me for years to come. I was entranced from start to finish." KARIN GILLESPIE, author of the Bottom Dollar Girls series "Strange as it sounds, River Jordan's fascinating novel Saints in Limbo somehow reminded me of Walker Percy and Dean Koontz simultaneously. It's that original. It's that good. It's a wise, funny, joyful, and deadly serious book. Saints in Limbo is the kind of story they ought to publish in leather-bound hardcover with gilded pages so you could leave it to your grandchildren." ATHOL DICKSON, author of River Rising and Winter Haven " Saints in Limbo is an elixir that combines two doses southern literary tradition and one dose magic realism. Jordan evokes elements of mystery and evil, wisdom and family, to make your heart surge and your skin tingle." KIM PONDERS, author of The Last Blue Mile "River Jordan's words flat-out sing. Some pages of Saints in Limbo will soothe you with lullabies, others will reach inside you for the blues, but they'll all pull you inside and slow your multitasking self down. Her stories court you to pace yourself and give them their due. It's hard to close this novel without wondering why River Jordan isn't a household name." SHELLIE RUSHING TOMLINSON, author of Suck Your Stomach In and Put Some Color On:What Southern Mamas Tell Their Daughters That the Rest of Y'all Should Know Too and creator and host of All Things Southern "Mystical and magically written, Saints in Limbo is a beautiful novel. With its vivid characters and lush language, readers will find themselves thinking of Augusta Trobaugh's Resting in the Bosom of the Lamb." MICHAEL MORRIS, author of A Place Called Wiregrass "River Jordan writes about love's triumph over fear, reconciliation, and dissolving ancient hurts in words as lyrical as a poem. Her characters wriggle into your heart frompage one and will stay there long after you've regretfully finished the last page. Saints in Limbo is not only a tribute to the power of place and community but a rollicking good read as well." CHARLOTTE RAINS DIXON, director of The Writing Loft, Middle Tennessee State University "River Jordan's written words are as poetic and captivating as her name, and her story, Saints in Limbo, is as powerful and healing as the River Jordan itself." DENISE HILDRETH, author of The Will of Wisteria "River Jordan practically sings her characters to life. Saints in Limbo is a triumph of the spirit and a reminder that there'smuchmore to life than meets the eye. Read this book to remind yourself that heaven can be found right here, right now." NICOLE SEITZ, author of A Hundred Years of Happiness, Trouble theWater, and The Spirit of Sweetgrass " Saints in Limbo reminds me of the adage 'Life is not about the destination but the journey.' In this case it's not about the ending of the book but the telling of the story! The journey in River Jordan's latest book is to savor every word, every sentence, and every paragraph." KATHY L. PATRICK, founder of the Pulpwood Queens Book Clubs and author of The Pulpwood Queens' Tiara-Wearing, Book-Sharing Guide to Life "River Jordan's third novel is a Southern Gothic masterpiece." Tina Fondren, Paste Magazine
River Jordan is a critically acclaimed novelist and playwright whose unique mixture of Southern and mystic writing has drawn comparisons to Sarah Addison Allen, Leif Enger, and Flannery O’Connor. Her previous works include The Messenger of Magnolia Street, lauded by Kirkus Reviews as "a beautifully written, atmospheric tale." She speaks around the country on "Inspiring the Passion of the Story" and makes her home in Nashville.
It was the kind of day when even the lost believed. When possibilities were larger than reason, when potential was grander than circumstance, when the long, dark days of doubt were suddenly cast off and laid to rest. Brushed away with a smile and a certainty. And in this moment, from this place, you knew the real magic could happen.
It was exactly this kind of day at the edge of a town in a southern place called Echo, Florida. Lying safely on the state’s northern border, Echo was first brethren more to its Alabama cousin than to the Gulf Coast. The land rolled by in rural peace and contentment, not given over to the moods of saltwater tides and open horizons but to the soft singing of wind in the pines, of roosters calling in the early morning light, of small cornfields and freshwater fishing holes.
The firstborn leaves of March had sprouted into the tiniest sea of baby green. The world was breathing in and out, moving everything in its path slightly, and on due course, with a gentle, four-edges-of-the-earth kiss. The birds had filled the trees, rumbling from their winter’s sleep, and here they were now, glorious and in full song. Squirrels scampered, quick and unseen, beneath banks of dried loblolly pine needles, then ran up the trees so fast they left nothing but a trail of falling bark.
Down at the edge of the powdery dirt road was Mullet Creek, running quietly, steadily throwing off stars of light
from its surface. You could hear the airborne fish breaking the bonds of water, then falling with a plop back into the chilly green of the creek.
Within all the living things—the dirt, the water, the cloudless sky, the pine trees long and whispering—was the
expectation of something coming. Something full of light and wonder.
When the expectation had stretched as far as it could, had built a crescendo into a feverish pitch, a peculiar wind
appeared. Only a tiny thing at first, but even then something special, something delicious and unique. A whirl began to take shape, collecting dirt from the dry bed of the middle of the road and spreading it upward into a spiraling funnel of substance. For a moment it appeared to be an errant breeze that caught the dirt and gave it a twirl, a bit of a dance, before it would settle itself to the nothing it once was. But the dance didn’t settle. Instead, it climbed higher and higher, pulling a streamof sandy soil, twisting it to and fro, as if something was shaping it with a manner of something in mind.
At first, there was only the wind, the dust, the dirt, but then, shifting in and out of visible, were two well-worn and traveled boots.
The dirt traveled higher, faster, revealing two trousered legs and then a waist, a chest, two arms with hands, until finally a head and on that head, a hat well lived in.The image presented a man who had been around, a traveler or a storyteller.
For a time the man and the whirlwind were one and the same. Man and whirlwind. Whirlwind and man. But after a long moment, but still only a moment, the man stepped straight out of that wind, and without the least bit of tussle he planted his boots on solid ground. And in this exact manner, on this kind of a day, the man was born feetfirst onto the earth.
He adjusted himself, pulling the clothes about his body, arranging the pants, the shirt, the jacket just so.He was a million miles roamed and completely at home. King to the subjects who might demand, but simple statesman to the orphan clan.
He removed the hat and ran one hand through his thick white hair and surveyed the territory before him. Then, after careful and appropriate consideration, he replaced the hat and pulled a watch from the left pocket of his pants. He opened the cover and music began to play. Music so sweet, so hypnotic, so full, it exuded a scent with each note and left it hanging there in the air. “Right on time,” he declared aloud and then launched himself forward in a southern direction on the road that had given him life.
He traveled only a rock’s throw toward the creek, and there just before the edge of the trees thatmade up a plot considered the woods, he paused and contemplated a house. Just a small white house of little consequence. A small shelter from the storms of life. There was an old mailbox by the road on which a yellow vine crawled and encircled its wooden post. Green bushes bloomed with early white gardenias on both sides of a little porch where there was a swing. In the swing sat a small hen of a woman.
The man drew closer, almost but not quite visible, as he watched her from the north side of the pine tree woods.
The woman stood slowly and went to the porch railing, leaned out as far as she could, and peered down the road. Suddenly she stepped back two steps and wrapped her arms about herself. She pursed her lips, pulled them up to one side, listening to that spring breeze singing through the pine needles and thinking.
Then she spoke to her husband, dead now a year. It was an odd, comforting habit she’d taken up. It kept her lonely voice from rusting.
“Did you feel that? That shift in the air?Well, what can I tell you, Joe? It changed. It was one way, then it was another.”
She paused, looked out toward the tree line. “And somebody’s out there standing just beyond the trees.” She called out, “Who goes there?” and waited amoment for a reply.There was no answer, but that didn’t move her. She was certain that she was right.That someone was watching, waiting just beyond her line of sight.