Gage is a peerless judge of human nature. Wry, funny, forgiving, she reminds us at times of John Barth, Katherine Anne Porter, and Sherwood Anderson. Her little Putneyville is big enough to encompass every human vice and virtue, and reading its fables and foibles, we recognize these people—and then, perhaps, we blush.
—Michael Carr, multiple best-selling editor
In today’s world of collapsing economies and ecosystems, can the ageless wisdom of Aesop still apply? In her captivating new novel, The Putneyville Fables, Marianne Gage explores this question and bestows some timely wisdom of her own. Told with unflinching honesty, The Putneyville Fables is a story for our times. With a cast of unforgettable characters and subplots, Gage weaves a dense tapestry of romance, political intrigue, betrayal, lost love and redemption. Gage’s concern for wildlife and the environment is evident. Those who cherish the natural world will cheer when exploiters receive their just reward. As Aesop so aptly admonished, “Beware, lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow.” A gifted storyteller, Gage has crafted a socially relevant, absorbing tale, inhabited by characters whose stories and personalities will linger long after the last page is turned.
—Kevin Moore, wildlife & environmental conservation activist, Berkeley, CA
Marianne Gage’s characters are deftly drawn, with all their frailties and temptations, their small acts of heroism and nobility painted with precise brushstrokes. Each chapter is introduced by one of Aesop’s fables, framing the dilemmas with which the characters struggle, and adding moral depth to the story. Putneyville Fables tackles big issues, such as conservation versus exploitation of nature, the interdependence of humans and animals, and the blessings of forgiveness. It is in intimately observed details that Gage leads us to care about the extended Cherrystone clan, a hodge-podge of misfits and achievers related by blood and circumstance. Each character is revealed and explored, but the two characters who act as bookends to the story are Emmeline Cherrystone, matriarch of the family, and Jeff Johnson, the cast-off, mixed-race child hovering at the edges. Gradually the stories of Emmeline and Jeff come together, uniting the rest of the clan in an ever-widening circle of acceptance. Gage does it again: a compelling and satisfying story in every way!
—Cynthia Leslie-Bole, founder, Hummingwords
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