Parchment of Leaves is a beautiful story. Like most Southern literature, it is as slow and easy as sipping iced tea on the porch on a hot summer's day. The central characters of this story are Vine, a Cherokee woman rumored to be the cause of many misshaps/injuries to White men of the area--men who wandered onto the property and caught a glimpse of Vine's beauty. She is beautiful and mysterious and unafraid.
Saul Sullivan is a farmer who wanders into Vine's sights. He is unfettered by her supposed powers, but once Vine lays eyes on him, she wants him more than anything. Vine leaves the safety of her family network and Cherokee culture to join Saul on his family farm. His mother is a bit stand-offish, but his younger brother shows a little too much interest. Vine ignores this, hoping it will go away.
The element of the book that I found most appealing was the way House weaved the culture of the area into the story. I am from this exact same pinpoint on the map. While I had subconsciously noted some of the qualities of Saul in even my own father, I had never realized they were cultural. House truly has his thumb on the pulse of the area and its pecular culture, way of life. House illustrates the tenderness of life, how precious and precarious it was in this time period.
Vine proves to be a stronger woman than anyone guessed. She and Saul find their way together and apart. A touching tale of the struggle to stay alive and stay in love.
This report prepared by Alicia Cathers