So Far Back by Pam Durban
A Novel

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Synopsis

Sixty-year-old Louisa Hilliard--the last descendent of one of Charleston's oldest and most prominent families -- is caring for her ailing mother. An upright, unmarried spinster, Louisa has spent her life looking after others. In the aftermath of a hurricane that turns her life upside down, she finds a battered diary kept by one of her ancestors. The journal recounts the story of Diana, a 19th-century slave who worked for the Hilliards, but sought to improve her life and her means, and was severely punished. Diana's fate is gradually revealed, even as Louisa discovers objects in her house missing, moved, dented, and seemingly handled by an unappeasable presence. In some small way trying to set right age-old wrongs, Louisa discovers how her own life is entangled in her family's haunted history. So Far Back is a nuanced and resonant portrait of two families sharing an enduring past and an uneasy present.

 

About Pam Durban

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Pam Durban is the author of The Laughing Place and All Set About With Fever Trees. She has received numerous awards including a Whiting Writer's Award. She teaches at Georgia State University, where she is one of the founding editors of Five Points Magazine.
 
Published October 6, 2000 by Picador. 276 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for So Far Back

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Then Durban focuses on 60-ish Louisa Hilliard Marion, a brusque spinster who resides in the old Hilliard home: a plantation-owner’s mansion that harbors deep secrets haughtily repressed by Louisa’s elderly mother, a distracted matron who chooses to “remember” the Hilliards’ decent treatment of th...

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Publishers Weekly

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Single at 65, Louisa Hilliard Marion spends her days caring for her dying mother and attending to Charleston's historic buildings.The month after her mother dies, Hurricane Hugo hits Charleston, and lands Louisa in a Red Cross shelter, jolting her out of her routines.

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