|From Singles 2009|
"What bothers you more than anything else in the world, Dave?"
"I beg your pardon?"
"Vietnam? The death of your wife Annie? Revisiting the booze in your dreams?"
When I don't reply, he lifts one hand, gestures at the diamond, the ruined school building that's become softly molded inside the fading twilight. A torn kite, caught by its string on an iron fire escape, flaps impotently against a wall.
"It's' all this, isn't it?" he says. "We're still standing in the same space where we grew up but we don't recognize it anymore. It's like other people own it now."
Lets see - Sonny Boy Marsallas - a New Orleans street hustler with ties, though not friendly ties, to both the NO mob (now headed by Johnny (Carp) Polycarp Giacano) and US feds and/or mercenaries from Central America passes to Dave a diary. Then, all hell breaks loose. Add into this a local plantation raised lawyer (Moleen Bertrand) and the family of African Americans he has living on a stretch of the plantation near the railroad. His grandfather supposedly gave them this land, though there is no record and for some reason Moleen (and his lovely drunken wife, Julia) wants them off the land NOW. Somehow the mob is involved in this, too.
This piece of land was our original sin, except we had found no baptismal rite to expunge it from our lives. That green-purple field of new cane was rooted in rib cage and eye socket....
Tolstoy asked how much land did a man need.
Just enough to let him feel the pull of the earth on his ankles and the claim it lays on the quick as well as the dead.
His teeth were like tombstones when he grinned.
Maybe it is because I started reading this book then set it aside for a couple of weeks before finishing it (binging on "Battlestar", you know), but I just couldn't get my head around this story. WHO IS CHARLIE??? Well, with the exception of that question, I CAN identify all the main players and their role, but it is just not one of my favorite Robicheaux novels.
Still, Burke gets some things right:
"The world's a small place today. People watch CNN in grass huts. A guy might as well play it out where the food is right."