Books: Graveyard Bustling with Life

THE ORDWAYS by William Humphrey. 362 pages. Knopf. $5.95.

Good writing is rare enough. Storytelling is an even rarer skill. A genuinely comic vision is beyond price. The Ordways has all three. Seven years after his doom-laden first novel, Home from the Hill, William Humphrey has made a surprising switch from tragedy to mock epic. The result is the most delightful novel so far this winter.

Humphrey's darkly memorable earlier book unraveled the archetypal family quadrangle. The Ordways also is a family saga; it, too, is set in an East Texas small town and begins in a graveyard. But there the resemblance ends....

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!