February's Table Talk concludes with award-winning author

February 22, 2014 11:38:56 PM



The Friends of the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library concludes its February Table Talk series on Wednesday, Feb. 26. Author and Friends' board member Deborah Johnson will read from and talk about her just-published work, "The Secret of Magic," from Amy Einhorn Books/G.P. Putnam's Sons. 


Johnson, whose 2008 novel "The Air Between Us" won the Mississippi Library Association's Award for Fiction, returns to the fictional town of Revere, Miss. for her second novel. 


Set just after World War II, "The Secret of Magic" traces the impact of the murder of a returning African-American serviceman on his hometown. After the famous, reclusive author Mary Pickett Calhoun requests the NAACP's assistance to investigate the murder, a young, female African-American lawyer arrives -- and things become even more complex.  


In an interview with Catfish Alley magazine, Johnson explained that while the novel does explore the issues of race, " ... the main thing is the relationship between this young African-American woman (Regina Robichard) and this middle-aged white woman (Calhoun) from this aristocratic family -- just their relationship." 


"Explaining intertwined black and white relationships in the South isn't easy," said Friends member Jo Shumake. "Even we have trouble articulating the connections and disconnects. I think Deborah has done both Southerners and non-Southerners a great service by cutting through stereotypical views and exploring the secret and magic of how we live together."  


Reception of Johnson's novel has been uniformly strong. Kirkus Reviews, in a starred review, called it "A passionate, nuanced drama about Southern race relations." It was chosen as one of the "10 Titles to Pick Up Now" in the February edition of O: The Oprah Magazine. Entertainment Weekly praised the novel's "rich portrayal of Revere and its inhabitants." 


Join the Friends on Feb. 26 at the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library, 314 Seventh St. N. for what promises to be an interesting discussion. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. for those wishing to bring their lunch and socialize before the program begins at noon. The Friends will serve iced tea. 


For more information, contact the library, 662-329-5300.