New Book Whispers from the Past

Metro Spirit | July 5, 2007
We have all felt, at some point in our lives, the drawing; the subtle voice of the past that whispers in our ear and draws us back to a simpler place and time. This prophetic voice echoes throughout James Everett Kibler’s latest novel, “Memory’s Keep.”

In this inspired tale of the trials and perils of genuine agrarian living, Kibler provides us with a striking polemic against the rat race of modern industrial societies. He creates believable and enduring characters through a powerfully cathartic narrative that will inevitably induce a desire to return to the place where real relationships are cherished and nature is nurtured.

The novel begins with a man sitting on his front porch thinking of his past — one filled with memories of war, friendship and heritage. His forefathers were slaves on the very land he now cultivates, away from the hustle and bustle of city life. He is nearing the threshold of old age and nature is calling him home. There is a natural rhythm that permeates the landscape and lovingly draws him to his eternal rest.

Mister Pink falls to his death one afternoon while tilling the earth. His death will cause many around him to see the opportunity for a new beginning.

A tall, blond and rugged country boy by the name of Triggerfoot lives next door to Pink and, through their shared love of the land and the type of living that it inspires, they became good friends. They hunted together for their sustenance and spoke with each other about the deep secrets of life, love and all things pertaining to our precarious existence.

As Kibler reveals, Triggerfoot is in a process of transformation and it has everything to do with his relationship to Pink, and the path he must take now that Pink is no longer with the family.

Pink reared three daughters, Vermicelli, Verta May and Mamie Lou. They moved away to the city, far removed from the simple farm life in Clay Bank County, S.C. In the fast-paced, commodity-driven metropolis, they become accustomed to a life of convenience but also spiritual depravity.

They are missing something vital in their lives that they cannot quite put their finger on. Yet with the humble leadership of the middle sister Verta May, the sisters might find through the death of their father a new way of being.

The story contains a deep and eternal truth about the nature of life, death and the mysteries of life-eternal. It describes in intricate detail small scenes that take place in nature that many of us who have been captivated by city life would never have conceived as taking place. Similar to Dante in his “Divine Comedy,” Kibler takes everyday occurrences and restores them to their rightful place; he reinterprets them as signs of divine immanence and opportunities for wonder and contemplation.

The novel is well-written, with engaging, poetic imagery that captures the imagination of the reader and creates a hunger for relationships that seem missing from the almost rabid obsession with progress that characterizes the modern age. In characters such as Triggerfoot and Verta May one finds unlikely models of virtue that are worth imitating. One finds the self-sacrificing spirit that reaches out into the uncertainty that is the mark of a real relationship, and finds a safe and soft place to land.

Having grown up in Modoc, S.C., I am familiar with the life that Kibler beckons us to. It is a life filled with history, deep family ties and loyalty to one’s blood. Like ol’ Trigg, when considering the soul of the city dweller who has no “responsibility to anything outside their own pampered skins,” I recognize the loss and through this book my sense of loss has been clarified and hope for renewal has been thoroughly rekindled.
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