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Jonathan Odell on 'The Healing,' Mississippi slavery

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Jonathan Odell's "The Healing"
Jonathan Odell's "The Healing"
Book cover courtesty of publisher

Jonathan Odell, author of the acclaimed novel "The View from Delphi," writes about the struggle for equality in pre-Civil Rights Mississippi, his home state. His new novel, "The Healing," explores the subversive role that story plays in the healing of an oppressed people.

Odell joins The Daily Circuit Tuesday to discuss his new book.

"It's rare that a single story can be compelling, tragic, comic, tender and mystical," writes Christine Brunkhorst in the Star Tribune. "Minneapolis writer Jonathan Odell's 'The Healing' is all of that. On the surface, this is a riveting tale about a midwife's effect on the slaves of a Mississippi cotton plantation in the pre-Civil War South; but more significantly, it is a story about the power of stories."

Odell writes about Mississippi because he doesn't understand it, he said in a Press-Register Q&A.

"I love her and hate her -- I call her my wondrous monster," he said. "No matter how far I move, she always tracks me down and demands, 'Explain me, or I'll drive you crazy!' I focus on race because that is our peculiar insanity. Agree with me or not, but everything in Mississippi is about race, and we still struggle with even seeing it, much less talking about it. Race created who I am as a white man. I write to discover all the ways how that happened."

VIDEO: "The Healing" book trailer