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Book review: A tragic accident changes the course of two cousins’ lives

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bells for eli

“Bells for Eli” by Susan Beckham Zurenda, Mercer University Press, 2020, 269 pages, $25

“Bells for Eli,” the first novel from Susan Beckham Zurenda, not only owes a debt to Southern history, but to Southern literary history as well.

In chronicling the lives of two cousins at the close of the last century, Zurenda’s book calls up memories of the unmoored adolescents of Carson McCullers in “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” and “The Member of the Wedding” and the youngsters in Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird.”