Willem's Field by Melinda Haynes
A Novel

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What are the limitations of what we do and don't know about our hearts? Oprah Book Club author Melinda Haynes, hailed as "the real thing, a true artist, a genuine writer" (the Cleveland Plain Dealer) for her bestselling debut, Mother of Pearl, returns with a tender, heartbreaking, and occasionally hilarious novel set in the 1970s.
Willem Fremont has spent his adult life held tight inside the clenched fist of panic disorder. Determined to break the pattern -- even as he reaches his twilight years -- Willem returns to his childhood home in Purvis, Mississippi, where he believes the solution lies. There he discovers his father's acreage in the hands of the idiosyncratic Till family. Eilene, mother of Sonny and Bruno and "no bigger than a dress form," pretends to be deaf as a way of dealing with her grown boys -- each of whom suffers from inertia. Sonny, hugely fat, perennially unemployed, and looking for love, is building a shrimp boat in his mother's landlocked backyard. Bruno, who has returned from Vietnam with a spinal injury and wearing a brace, escapes into the glossy pages of old National Geographics while his wife, Leah, tries to find a small measure of comfort in the day-to-day tending of their farm.
From these unsettled lives comes a story of reconciliation against all odds and a vision of rekindled love as well as a compassionate portrait of small-town life that celebrates the unusual, embraces the unwanted, and opens its arms to all lost souls in search of a home. Steeped in the traditions of great southern storytellers like Flannery O'Connor and William Faulkner, Willem's Field is nonetheless a wholly original and vividly imaginative novel by a brilliant and assured writer.

About Melinda Haynes

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Melinda Haynes lives with her husband, Ray, on a barrier island along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. She is the author of two novels: Mother of Pearl and Chalktown.
Published April 8, 2003 by Free Press. 432 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Alyce also sells vacuums door-to-door, and her encounter with the lonely Bruno sets the stage for a blow-up between Bruno and Leah.

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Publishers Weekly

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As an anxious Willem drives from Colorado to his family's land in Purvis, Miss., the readers meet the Till family, who own the land next to Willem's.

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Book Reporter

In Melinda Haynes's novel WILLEM'S FIELD, two unrelated sets of people deal with different life issues, but find common ground as their stories unfold and converge into one.

Apr 30 2003 | Read Full Review of Willem's Field: A Novel

Entertainment Weekly

The tiniest things can send 70-year-old Willem into a debilitating panic attack: In the opening scene, it's a waitress' body odor and the ridiculous paper crowns that adorn Ruby's Regal Truck Stop.

May 02 2003 | Read Full Review of Willem's Field: A Novel

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