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August1999
Come and Go, Molly Snow
by Mary Ann Taylor-Hall

Book Synopsis

Carrie Marie Mullins is a wild bluegrass fiddler, the only woman in a band called Cap Dunlap and Hawktown Road.

Shortly after the death of her 5-year-old child, Molly Snow, Carrie goes back to playing with the band, not knowing what else to do. But two days before the band is to begin the summer tour which it hopes will establish it as a headline act, Cap finds her sitting against the wall of Molly’s bedroom, trying, as she has done for many nights, to reach her child across the boundary of death by listening for the “one main sound” of the universe.

Carrie has long loved Cap, but “stomped that feeling down with her cute cowboy boots,” unwilling to be another item on his life list. Now their long-suppressed mutual attraction turns Carrie back from this enactment of her grief. Carrie suspects, later, fairly or unfairly, that Cap’s real interest was to get her on her feet and on the tour. When Cap understands she’s in no shape for travel, he takes her to stay with his grandmother and great-aunt on a ridgy farm in drought-struck Oxford County, Kentucky.

It is here, a month later, that we enter Carrie’s mind as, sustained by the love of these two women and by the place itself, she takes hold of the facts of her life: her loss and her grief, the cost of her long obsession with Cap, the risks and possibilities of real love, the responsibilities and privileges of her gift.

The language in which Carrie’s state of mind is represented is a kind of old-time singing: plain but deeply meant, jaunty and rollicking but vibrating with sorrow.


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