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Lamb in His Bosom by Caroline Miller

Lamb in His Bosom (1934)

by Caroline Miller

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This 1934 Pulitzer winner deals with a back-woods country existence in rural Georgia from about 1840 to just a few years after the Civil War. It takes a little while to get used to the language and style, but it's a wonderful book. At times it's plodding, but there are extraordinary moments of brilliant writing. Descriptions so vivid you can feel the heat, smell the blood, hear the birds or wail of panthers. The simple story of simple people starts with the wedding day of Cean Carver and Lonzo Smith and follows them through their lives together - 14 children, several deaths, moments of panic and always a steadfastness. ( )
  BookConcierge | Feb 10, 2016 |
I read this when I was doing the Pulitzer fiction winners. My memory is that it is quite a good book. ( )
  Schmerguls | May 15, 2013 |
When I tell people I'm reading all of the Pulitzers, most people get an 'ick' look on their face, or ask me what my problem is. I then enthusiastically try to convince them that they're actually almost all extremely readable and not overly 'literary'. I point out To Kill a Mockingbird and The Yearling and Middlesex and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and on and on until I find one they've read that they actually liked and thought was accessible.

A Lamb in His Bosom is exactly the kind of book that these people think all Pulitzers are. It's extremely slow and dull. I literally fell asleep reading it...twice! And that never happens to me!

I had high expectations for this book because I'd read that when it won the Pultizer, it got publishers interested in civil war era Southern novels. According to several sources, it directly paved the way for Gone With the Wind to win the Pulitzer in the following year. I freaking LOVE GWtW so I was stoked to read the lesser known novel that supposedly was such a sensation that it paved the way for GWtW.

I don't even know how to properly tell you what sucked so much about this book. It was basically the story of one family living in Georgia who was totally uninterested in and mostly uninvolved in the Civil War. The protagonist was a women named Cean, not to be confused with her mother, who was named Cean. Or her 3rd daughter, who was named Cean. In fact, the main Cean ended up having 16 children altogether, 4 of whom lived a week or less. The novel was basically the story of all her babies and how she kept having babies even though she didn't want babies. Also her brother-in-law was an asshole. And she worked in the fields a lot. Also she made candles from animal fat. ( )
  agnesmack | Sep 25, 2011 |
In her book, Lamb in His Bosom, Caroline Miller portrays the lives of an extended family living in backwoods Georgia in the years leading up to and during the Civil War. It follows each member of the family through the years, focusing especially on the daughter, Cean Smith (nee Carver) who is recently married at the beginning of the book. Miller provides a beautiful description of the trials and joys of life and dependence on God in the rural South and I found myself truly drawn into the lives of these characters.

What truly interested me most about this book was the fact that I had also recently finished Gone With the Wind (Pulitzer winner, 1937). Both stories took place in Georgia in overlapping time periods but from opposite viewpoints. I believe that if Scarlett O'Hara lived near the Smiths and Carvers she would have dismissed them - using her term "white trash" - but these families were so much more. We see that, while they don't own plantations or slaves, they work hard and make a good living - even affording small luxuries at times. They know no other way of life and, so, have no other expectations than what comes. It was fascinating to compare the two stories of different classes of Georgians from the same period.

My favorite things to read about, whether it is fiction or non-fiction, are the ways that people live their lives everyday. Lamb in His Bosom provided me with a vivid picture of rural life unlike any I had read before. I wholeheartedly recommend it to all! ( )
1 vote curls_99 | Jan 28, 2010 |
Beautiful prose and dialectally engaging so that you truly felt the happiness, heartache, excitement and dread of this farm family lead by the main character Cean. The book reminded me a lot of Conrad Richter's Awakenings trilogy - the pioneering family of the early to mid 19th century. What struck me about Cean is her reluctance to have children - despite the fact of giving birth to more than a dozen! Some of the plot twists develop rather abruptly but effectively nonetheless. Definitely of the strong pioneering women genre. ( )
  Kelberts | May 27, 2008 |
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Cean turned and lifted her hand briefly in farewell as she rode away beside Lonzo in the ox-cart.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 156145074X, Hardcover)

In 1934, Caroline Miller's novel LAMB IN HIS BOSOM won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature. It was the first novel by a Georgian to win a Pulitzer, soon followed by Margaret Mitchell's GONE WITH THE WIND in 1937. In fact, LAMB was largely responsible for the discovery of GONE WITH THE WIND; after reading Miller's novel, Macmillan editor Harold S. Latham sought out other southern novels and authors, and found Margaret Mitchell.

Caroline Miller was fascinated by the other Old South-not the romantic inhabitant of GONE WITH THE WIND, but rather the poor people of the south Georgia backwoods, who never owned a slave or planned to fight a war. The story of Cean and Lonzo, a young couple who begin their married lives two decades before the Civil War, LAMB IN HIS BOSOM is a fascinating account of social customs and material realities among settlers of the Georgia frontier. At the same time, LAMB IN HIS BOSOM transcends regional history as Miller's quietly lyrical prose style plays poignant tribute to a woman's life lived close to nature-the nature outside her, and the nature within.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:46 -0400)

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