In a Sweet Magnolia Time
Waities Waring was the first judge in US history to rule that separate but equal is not equal, but he gets no mention in the archives, because we was widely perceived as vindictive. He'd taken up with a Yankee spitfire, putting out his wife of 35 years. Charleston reacted harshly, and Waring gave back with separate but equal. Exiled to NY from Charleston, SC, Waring died there a cold, lonely, broken man 17 years after his ruling. The tale begins at the funeral, in the voice of Waring's protege, derailed, who burned a cross on Waring's lawn.
Federal Judge Waties Waring dissented in Briggs vs. Board of Education in '51, paving the way for Brown vs. Board and maligning Waring among the white elite in his hometown of Charleston, S.C. Wintner looks Waring's protege who would have followed Waring to the Federal Bench but instead helped burn a cross on Waring's lawn. When narrator Arthur Covingdale begins an intimate relationship with a woman of color, his inner turmoil goes external, as his demons and dilemmas leap from the shadows. Wintner illuminates a corner of a turbulent era.
It rings with authenticity. Language and insights speak of intimate, ingrained knowledge of Southern culture and its peculiar racial dynamic and comedy of manners. The humor--so often sharp, unexpected, hilarious at times--is so disarming. In the end, the narrator is rendered a poignant, comprehensible product of the human condition. --Gloria Randle, Associate Professor of African Studies, University of Chicago