“Dummy” is big. He is black. He doesn’t speak. To everybody in Linville, Mississippi, he’s a familiar sight, pulling his wagonload of laundry for his mother. What people remember most about him and his family is the way his father died after being accused of bothering a white woman, and Jubal’s own act of violence while working the levee after the flood of 1927.
Crossing racial lines, and against codes of propriety for the well-respected Dunaway family, the children, Sarah and Lucas Dunaway, befriend Jubal Jefferson. When a fire breaks out in their home, Jubal “Dummy” Jefferson saves his friends’ lives but is accused of murder, forcing him to face his greatest fear and forcing a town to decide whether justice is blind and whether Jubal is really who they think he is.
Part elegy to small-town childhood, full of suspense, and written with a sensitivity and attention to detail that reveals the complexity of how we see and treat those who are different, this gripping first novel holds echoes of classic works of Southern fiction, such as Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.
About the Author
The idea for Jubal, Gary Penley’s third effort to sow the seeds of his unique past, sprang from an old family story in which his wife’s ancestor had a slave named Dummy who was deaf and mute. In Jubal, Penley integrates his disciplined writing style and his extensive travels in the South; the result is a concise yet poignant portrait of one man’s struggle within his community and against his greatest fear. Thus, Penley’s narrative captures his impression of the South as at once “beautiful, serene, violent, [and] unfathomable.” After a twenty-six-year career in geology, Mr. Penley now lives in Divide, Colorado, with his wife, Karen.
By Gary Penley
FICTION / Historical
FICTION / Literary
272 pp. 5 1/8 x 7 1/2
ISBN: 9781589801295 hc