28 Sep

“A particular town, then, Brownsburg, in a particular time and place … The people moved about their daily business and did the things that life laid out for them to do, always aware of the mountains that ringed them in, blue in the summer twilights, the light turning from white to gold to rose as they sat on their porches … They belonged to the land, to this particular place, the way their cars or the tablespoons belong to them … The people were religious people, and their faith got them through whatever fell on them, that and the land and the mountains that cradled and gave a salvation to anybody who had the grace to live nestled in their ancient soft hollows.

Goolrick seduces. Slowly. Passionately. His words leave nothing to the imagination. We see every color, hear every sound, and feel every emotion. This is a true story, as told in a (illuminating) third person narrative, by an old man who recounts his boyhood with the stranger who came to town in search of wonderful, one hot Virginia summer in 1948. With one suitcase full of cash and the other full of butcher knives, Charlie Beale thought he found his wonderful, at last. But when Charlie the butcher meets Sylvan the wife of the town‘s most richest and meanest man, things in small town America begin to change.

This is a dark masterful telling with prose so melodious, it weaves itself seamlessly through the suspenseful threads of lost and displaced lives. A haunting story of obsession and belonging. 

Algonquin Books, a division of Workman Publishing 2012

292 pages – Fact based southern gothic – fiction/suspense




  1. PERCOLATION « WORDMAN - October 1, 2012

    […] Of the three books that Goolrick has written, A Reliable Wife is his second. The first being, The End of the World As We Know It, and then Heading Out to Wonderful, reviewed here. […]

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