Books: Good Man from the South

THE PLANTATION (217 pp.)—Ovid Williams Pierce—Doubleday ($3).

When a Southern novel rolls off the presses, it is an odds-on bet that it will land either in the dark bog of Gothic violence or in the moonlit magnolia patch. Ovid Williams Pierce's The Plantation does neither; it is a first novel of grace, style and quiet excellence.

The Plantation's hero, Ed Ruffin, is a dying man, and as he waits for the end, friends and relations spin the web of his life out of their memories. It has been the kind of life that gets lived a great deal oftener than it gets written...

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