Leaving Cold Sassy

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

LEAVING COLD SASSY takes up the story of Will Tweedy and his family ten years after the events of COLD SASSY TREE, Olive Ann Burns’s much-admired novel about life in a small Georgia town early in the twentieth century. This time, the central love story involves the young boy of the earlier book, Will Tweedy, and Sanna Maria Klein, a pretty, high-spirited teacher. Again, there are hilarious scenes, like the community watermelon-cutting which begins the novel, and interesting characters, like Will’s catty aunt, Loma Williams, who descends periodically upon the family with dramatic accounts of her life in New York City. However, the author’s tentative title for the work, TIME, DIRT, AND MONEY, suggests a serious subject, the trials of Will and Sanna during the Great Depression, when they have lost their farm, their home, and the joy of their early years together.

Half of this book is made up of the fifteen chapters which Olive Ann Burns had written before she died, along with notes which are of particular interest in revealing her creative process. The rest of the volume is a biographical account written by Katrina Kenison, who first met the author when COLD SASSY TREE was being readied for publication and continued to work with her until her death. This story of Burns’s life has everything found in her novels: good humor, an unlikely romance, high principle, and inspiring heroism. Both the fact and the fiction in LEAVING COLD SASSY can only add to the stature of a highly respected author.