A playful satire of the Great Recession, set in America’s quirkiest town.
“The novel, like the house, is a claustrophobic den of big personalities, absurd activities, and unlikely objects, all sharply rendered in Davis’ wry prose. …The tale unfolds at an easygoing pace, more interested in developing the characters and their relationships than launching into any complex plot. It’s a story about a certain place at a certain time—an Asheville caught between its past and future—and it’s a fine spot to visit for a while.”
During the recession, to keep from losing his home—the stately “Carolina Court,” in Asheville, North Carolina—Frank Reed becomes a reluctant landlord to a houseful of misfits. A New Age outpost in the South, Asheville has plenty of eccentrics, and Frank’s elderly tenant, Angus Saxe-Pardee, is the strangest of all. Taking charge of the household, Angus rents the last remaining rooms to two women: Andromeda Megan Bell’s arrival prompts chivalry and brings a stalking ex-lover to Frank’s home; and in Lida Barfield, the elegant enigma, Angus at last meets his match.
In the feuding and chaos that follow, feral chihuahuas are captured, poetry is butchered, and love and gardening finally triumph.
For anyone grieving what we lose to gentrification, A History of Saints is a comedy of errors to revive memories of when our lives felt harder—yet were somehow richer.