A dissection of family existence at its most corrosive
In this moving and brilliant narrative of doomed love, Mary Lee Settle tells of a triangular affair set in the small town of Canona, West Virginia. The novel's narrator, a thirty-five-year-old widow and writer, returns from a self-imposed European exile to find her hometown much as she left it decades ago. One thing does change upon her arrival, however; she takes Charley Bland, Canona's most eligible bachelor and the object of her schoolgirl crush, as her lover. The third person in the profane trinity is Charley's mother, a woman who believes no female worthy of her son. Mrs. Bland serves to fuel the lovers' creativity as they arrange clandestine meetings. With trademark skill and wit, Settle spins a bittersweet story in which she artfully reveals the mores of Canona's closed, upper-class society and of its less prosperous underculture.
Mary Lee Settle was born in Charleston, West Virginia, and has lived in England, Turkey, and New York. In addition to Charley Bland and The Beulah Quintet, she is author of, most recently, the novel Choices, as well as Blood Tie, Celebration, The Clam Shell, The Love Eaters, The Kiss of Kin, and a memoir, All the Brave Promises. Settle now lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.
"Charley Bland is a haunting novel, a mystery in the form of a memoir, a love story rendered by a rare poetess."—Walker Percy
"Charley Bland reveals the versatility and mastery of one of America's most gifted contemporary writers. Mary Lee Settle has the ability to create fascinating characters that live and inhibit an astounding range of historical and geographical landscapes. She is a master storyteller who has a grand passion for writing prose that makes for great reading."—McCormick Messenger