Purvis Driggers is a South Carolina Low Country loser. With little judgment and even less chance for a decent life beyond his parents house, home town, and whatever part-time work he can scrounge up, he s sure he's figured a way out: rob an old man of the rumored millions hidden in his house. But all he finds is the old man dead and the money, if there was any, already gone. Purvis is drawn to the sound of music across the creek. There, he discovers a beautiful woman in a white gown being baptized in the water. Surely Martha, beautiful Martha, will give Purvis the escape he imagines. With the Martha boat come to his rescue, Purvis decides, he ll never have to worry about drowning.
But Martha Umphlett is trapped, too. Married and just as quickly divorced, Martha s been condemned to return to the home she d once escaped. Made to take care of her obese mother, and forced to participate in a baptism she has no interest in whatsoever, Martha, in her own way, is every bit as desperate as Purvis, but far more capable and a good deal more dangerous.
Their paths cross with that of Brother Andrew, a monk at a nearby monastery whose call more and more is not to God, but to nature, and more importantly, to somewhere else. He wanders the swamp to watch birds, practice archery, and meditate, but it becomes clearer and clearer to him that the answers he seeks are not to be found in his monastery, his vow of silence, or the life he has thus far known. But maybe the answer is in the girl he, too, sees being baptized across the creek. Perhaps Martha will make Andrew happy.
Infatuated with Martha, and certain she's the answer to his dreams, Purvis sets out to do whatever is necessary to prove his love, all the while terrified that the FBI will pin the old man's murder on him.
This darkly humorous story wends its way through a web of murder and dismemberment, a twisted love triangle, and a woodland monster known as the Hairy Man.
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Great Performance in South Carolina Lowlands Tale
I listened to the Audible version of Purple Jesus by Ron Cooper narrated by Charles Bice. Charles did an admirable job narrating, providing unique voices for all of the characters, and his dialect seemed genuine. The book is touted as a comedy, but I didn't find anything amusing with it. The two main characters are Purvis and Martha who are extremely poor in South Carolina's low country. While their story was Ok, I really didn't enjoy the parts with Brother in it, which seemed out of place and distracted from the main story. In short, Purple Jesus was uninspired and forgettable.
Still Pondering It...
- Michael Oberhardt