Books: Southern Without Gothic

CLARA (286 pp.)—Lonnie Coleman—Dutfon ($3).

Sitting on the front porch that bright October morning, Lilian Sayre wondered for the hundredth time who little Petie's daddy might be. Big, black Clara, Petie's unmarried mother and the Sayres' woman of all work, was raking leaves; her brown-skinned youngster was cleaning the bird bath. Then the truth hit Lilian like a cosmic shock: Petie's father was Lilian's own husband, Carl. Clara did not even try to deny it. Neither, later, did Carl Sayre. But though Lilian kicked Clara out that very day and burned down the backyard shack she slept in, she soon took her...

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