RUINED BEAUTY

IN PRIVATE ALTARS SOUTHERN GOTHIC IS SUFFUSED WITH POETRY

Throughout the 1980s and '90s young first-time novelists have persisted in making detachment their dominion. Those writers have created worlds in which contemporary characters speak in a passionless staccato as they find themselves ravaged not by tragedy but rather by vague ennui.

In her debut novel, Private Altars (Random House; 322 pages; $21), Katherine Mosby audaciously bucks such fashionable themes, and the result is a stunningly lyrical work of fiction. Set in the South during the 1920s and '30s, the novel revolves around the suffering of Vienna Daniels-a woman, Mosby writes, whose "face had the stamp of character intelligence sometimes bestows,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

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 TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

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