The Marrowbone Marble Company by Glenn Taylor

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The Marrowbone Marble Company by Glenn Taylor

Category: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Robin Leggett
Reviewed by Robin Leggett
Summary: A big and compelling story of life in West Virginia between the 1940s and 1960s centred around a factory producing glass marbles - covering race, love and civil rights. Dare we say it's 'marble-ous'?
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 384 Date: March 2011
Publisher: Blue Door
ISBN: 978-0007359073

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Glenn Taylor tells a big story with a deft lightness of touch. Covering the period from the early 1940s to the late 1960s, The Marrowbone Marble Company (and it's marble in the form of the glass marble game for children rather than the stone variety) tells the story of Loyal Ledford, a hard working man in West Virginia who marries the daughter of the glass factory where he works. Returning from a traumatic World War two, he decides to start his own business manufacturing marbles. If that sounds dull, it's far from it.

Taylor uses the device of moving the story on by devoting, often quite short, chapters to various months (in chronological order but not taking every month) to tell the story of the significant events and the not so significant events. I found myself having to check back each time to see how much time had elapsed between each episode, but that aside it works well.

It's a story of love, race, civil rights and a connection to the land and the pursuit of American ideals in the face of redneck resistance where community and inclusiveness of races (Loyal employs and lives with black and white families in what is akin to the old industrial revolution company towns, although here their location in Marrowbone Cut is more the size of a small village community) gets labelled as communism by the corrupt white political leaders and redneck locals.

The characters are richly, but lightly, drawn and all are nicely rounded with both faults and strengths giving a very real feel to these fictional characters. It's one of those books that I know is going to stay with me for many months and is a delight to read. His first novel has been likened to John Irving by the critics, and that's not wholly out of place but Taylor's style is distinctively his own and this is a highly recommended book.

If you enjoyed this book then why not try Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving.

Buy The Marrowbone Marble Company by Glenn Taylor at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Marrowbone Marble Company by Glenn Taylor at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Marrowbone Marble Company by Glenn Taylor at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Marrowbone Marble Company by Glenn Taylor at Amazon.com.


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