The Heaven of Mercury
by Brad Watson
Finus Bates has loved chatty, elegant Birdie Wells for 80 years, ever since he saw her cartwheel naked through the woods near the backwater town of ... Show synopsis Finus Bates has loved chatty, elegant Birdie Wells for 80 years, ever since he saw her cartwheel naked through the woods near the backwater town of Mercury, Mississippi in 1917. Loved her through their marriages to other people, through the mysterious death of Birdie's womanising husband, Earl, and through all the poisonous accusations against her after that. All during Mercury's evolution from sleepy town to small city. Finus - reporter, radio host and obituary writer - aims to have the last word on its inhabitants, from obsequious undertaker Parnell Grimes to Euple Scarbrough, local encyclopaedia of useless knowledge. Loyal to Birdie, Finus won't rush to unravel the mystery of her husband's death - not until Birdie herself has entered Mercury's heaven. Magnificently written, this is a sumptuous portrayal of lifelong friendship, restless passion, marital discord, aging and transcendence. A triumph of contemporary American writing.