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Magic Time

A Novel

Doug Marlette

Picador

Born and raised in Mississippi, Carter Ransom came to New York as a young man and has risen to become a columnist with a major city newspaper. But when his life in New York falls apart and he heads back home to recover, the still-live conflicts of his youth in the civil rights era rise up all around him again. A twenty-five-year-old murder case has just been reopened, a church bombing that killed Carter's first love. Carter's father was the judge in the case, and now there's evidence that the trial was flawed, even fixed, and the case's reopening threatens the foundation of Carter's identity, as well as his relationship to his family.
 
Moving between New York City and the New South of the early 1990s, with flashbacks to Mississippi's Freedom Summer of 1964, Magic Time is at once a powerful love story, a courtroom drama, and a complex portrait of the civil rights revolution.

BOOK EXCERPTS

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Troy
Carter ransom awoke curled up in the backseat of his sister's Mercury Grand Marquis. The metronomic ticking of tires against scored pavement penetrated the pharmaceutical fog, and he pushed up on his forearms to look out the window. They were speeding along the interstate that flatlined across the Black Belt of southern Mississippi.
 
            "You slept good," said Sally. He caught her anxious glance in the rearview mirror. He raised himself up until he could see his own reflection. There were dark circles under his eyes,
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REVIEWS

Praise for Magic Time

"Doug Marlette has captured something essential about the spirit of our age."--The New York Times Book Review
 
"Glorious and deeply moving. Perfectly captures a time of epic change."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
 
"A compelling legal thriller, touching tribute, and zesty love story rolled into one."--The Boston Globe
 
"Doug Marlette unravels a powerful plot that straddles every genre, from historical fiction to love story."--Daily News (New York)
 
"Charming, engaging, and gripping . . . Magic Time presents a realistic portrait of the collective amnesia of the South and the generational tensions that the civil rights movement stirred up, then and now."--The Washington Post
 
"A compulsively readable style and a wry sense of humor . . . There are no signs of a sophomore slump here. Magic Time usefully reminds us of a dark moment in our nation's recent past, of what has changed and how much has not."--The Star-News (Wilmington, North Carolina)
 
"Marlette skillfully twines the raucous immediacy of things present with the misty remembrance of things past to demonstrate afresh how these two universal abstractions play off each other and ultimately lead us to meaning."--The News & Observer
 
"Magic Time ultimately succeeds as both a heartfelt novel and a serious one too, under-girded by a keen eye for historical and social detail, driven forward by a sense of justice, and revealing in so many instances a sometimes-surprising optimism and a generous sense of humanity."--Metro Magazine (North Carolina)
 
"Magic Time has wonderfully drawn characters and is a good tale, all around."--The Sun News (Myrtle Beach)
 
"Marlette's sense of place and his belief in the authenticity of the Southern voice is powerful."--Chattanooga Times Free Press
 
"Doug Marlette takes us deep into the heart of America, and deeper into the American heart. Marlette writes with acuity and intelligence, with broad humor and a precise, loving attention to detail. His past and present not only lives and breathes, it lingers and haunts your soul."--Joe Klein, author of Primary Colors
 
"Doug Marlette asks urgent questions about society and directs us to look for the answers within our own hearts. His kind intelligence shows through in every word. He's one of my favorite writers."--Kaye Gibbons, author of Ellen Foster
 
"I have always loved that word 'page-turner,' and that is just what Doug Marlette has given us with Magic Time. He bridges the modern South to one of its bleakest, most violent periods and does so with a story that you can't put down. I love the way Marlette brings my South to life with all its glory and warts. With this book, with the dilemma that modern-day Southerners find themselves in because of their ancestors' actions, we see once again what Faulkner meant about how the past isn't dead, or even past."--Rick Bragg, author of All Over But the Shoutin' and Ava's Man
 
"Doug Marlette knows how to make a reader turn the page, again and again, with rising excitement. But he's after more than that in Magic Time. He sets out to fill in the canvas of the modern South with the darker colors of its history. He shows us every kind of Southerner, from the noblest to the worst. He makes his characters answer for who they are and where they come from, but he loves them--all of them. We can't ask for more from a novelist or a novel."--Mark Childress, author of Crazy in Alabama and One Mississippi

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Doug Marlette

  • Doug Marlette has won every major award for cartooning, including the Pulitzer Prize. His award-winning first novel, The Bridge, was published in 2001.
  • Doug Marlette Will and Deni McIntyre
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    Magic Time

    A Novel

    Doug Marlette

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    Picador

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