My Grandfather’s Finger

Edward Swift
Photographs by Lynn Lennon

"Utterly beguiling. A work of charm, wit, honesty, and heart."—Carole Maso, author of Defiance


"My Grandfather's Finger is a ravishing tapestry of tales woven together with wicked wit, keen kindness, and helpless truth. Edward Swift is a literary treasure."
—Beth Henley, author of Crimes of the Heart

"I am grateful for the opportunity to read Mr. Swift's wonderful book. I loved it—family life remembered in detail but with such affection."
—Quentin Crisp

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Not long ago the Big Thicket of East Texas was still one of those places singular in its southernness, like the Mississippi Delta or the Carolina Low Country. Now its old-timers and their ways are nearly gone.

They will not be forgotten, though, for in My Grandfather’s Finger Edward Swift recalls a Big Thicket populated by family and friends as gloriously vibrant and enigmatic as the land itself. From Camp Ruby to nearby Woodville and all the swamps, bayous, and forests in between, Swift shows us a place and time so fecund with humor, tragedy, and good talk that, in growing up there, he had no choice but to become a novelist.

We meet, among many others, Mother, a widowed war bride who would spring-clean the inside of her house with a garden hose, and Aunt Coleta, childlike and always surrounded by an entourage of kids half enchanted by her and half scared witless. Then there are Uncle Frank, who, with self-fulfilling flair, would have drawn a pistol at the merest suggestion that his family was dysfunctional, and, of course, Grandfather, who lost his finger to a machete and his mind to cough medicine.

A mystical world of carnivals, talking fiddles, houses on wheels, atomic bombs, and total-immersion baptisms, Edward Swift’s Big Thicket was also a world in which he was loved unconditionally--and that alone makes it worth getting to know.

Page count: 256 pp.
Trim size: 5.5 x 8


List price: $28.95

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Edward Swift is a novelist and visual artist who lives in New York. He is the author of five books, including Mother of Pearl and Splendora, the latter of which has been performed on the stage and adapted for film. Lynn Lennon, whose work has been widely exhibited, lives in Dallas. Her books include Dogmatically Speaking and Categorically Speaking.