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Queen of the Underworld: A Novelby Gail Godwin
Synopses & Reviews
Now I had graduated on this bright June Saturday in 1959 and few were the obstacles left between me and my getaway train to Miami--obstacles that nevertheless must be cunningly surmounted.
Emma, you ride in front with Earl, said Mother, as expected. I'll sit in back and reminisce a little more about my time here in Paradise.
Oh? challenged Earl. What does that make the rest of your life, then, a comedown?
The rest of my life is still in progress, Mother lightly countered, making room for herself among my college leftovers that were going back to the mountains with them. Ask me again in thirty or forty years.
We began the winding descent out of Chapel Hill as, seven years earlier, the three of us, with my mother's new husband at the wheel, had begun another descent into a new life. Only this time, they would be dropping me off within the hour at the Seaboard Station in Raleigh. My journey as part of this family unit would soon be at an end. Happily, my train to Miami left at one fifteen, so a farewell lunch had been out of the question, a circumstance diminishing that much further the chance of a last-minute blowup with Earl.
But still I was on my guard, for already he was making those engorged throat noises that preceded a sermon. I did not dare glance back at Mother for fear of catching her eye. An exchanged look of sympathy or, God forbid, a mutual smirk might still explode everything sky-high, as it had done plenty of times before. My job was to look respectfully attentive without rising to his bait. I folded my hands in my lap and faced front, focusing on the road ahead. Windows on both sides were open to let in the breeze, and the capricious little whomp-whomps of hot air provided a divertimento against Earl's opening sally and helped me keep my own counsel.
Sacrifices had been made. If I would ever stop to think about other people. Empathy and gratitude not my strong suits. Had never known what it was to apply myself on a daily basis. Hadn't been required of me. Had been raised to think that the world revolved around me and that I could coast along without making much of an effort. Not completely my fault. Had been indulged too much for my own good by teachers as well as family. But now I was going into the real world where I would have to knuckle under and deliver the goods like everybody else.
Though why you should choose to go off half-cocked to a place like Miami remains a mystery to your mother and me. Your dean told us the Charlotte Observer wanted you, but he said you'd had your heart set on Miami ever since you went down for that interview at Christmas. I said, well, we were the last to know she went to Miami for Christmas. She told us she was staying in the dorm to catch up on her work. We didn't learn the truth till February.
Damn and blast you, I thought. You have a single conversation with my dean, who adores me, and you make me out a liar.
I didn't want to say anything to anyone until I knew I had the job, I cautiously replied.
I told the dean, she doesn't even know anybody in Miami--
I don't know anybody in Charlotte, either, I refrained from saying.
She knows Tess, put in Mother from the backseat. Tess was her old college roommate from Converse. Tess will be meeting her train tomorrow morning.
So why didn't she stay with Tess at Christmas, when she went down for that interview? His voice had edged up a decibel.
Well, I guess she wanted to stay with someone else at Christmas, Mother neutrally suggested.
Of course I had told them, after the fa
Emma Gant er en ambitiøs journalist p Miami Star i 1959, hvor byen bliver oversvømmet af overklasseflygtninge fra Cuba, bl.a. underverdenens dronning, afholdt af mafiaen; takket være veninden Tess bliver Emma snart venner med mange af cubanerne.
In 1959, as the first wave of Cuban exiles arrives in the United States, Emma Gant, finally free of her stifling family and bullying stepfather, embarks on a career as a reporter for The Miami Star and begins to thrive in the sultry world of Miami, confronting conflicting loyalties, shady dealings, and personal and professional setbacks as she pursues her goals. 50,000 first printing.
About the Author
Gail Godwin is a three-time National Book Award nominee and the bestselling author of many critically acclaimed novels, including A Mother and Two Daughters, Violet Clay, Father Melancholy’s Daughter, Evensong, The Good Husband, and Evenings at Five. She is also the author of The Making of a Writer: Journals, 1961—1963, the first of two volumes, edited by Rob Neufeld. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts grant for both fiction and libretto writing, and the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She has written libretti for ten musical works with the composer Robert Starer. Visit the author’s website at www.gailgodwin.com.
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