Willa Mae, the mother of Billy Beed is dead and rumored to be buried with jewels. Billy is pregnant by a married man and living with her Aunt June and Uncle Roosevelt. Extremely poor, all three need those jewels. A host of family characters and friends describe the time period and the situation of being poor & black in Texas of 1963 and the hope attached to impossible dreams.
Each chapter is told from a different characters perspective with salvation being the theme woven throughout the novel. The dialog is exquisite. A long, descriptive southern narrative that is character driven.
Author won Pulitzer Prize for drama-this is her first novel. 2003, 257 pages.