Until the dot.com bubble burst, George Bailey never gave much thought to why his grandfather seemed so happy.
But then George’s wealth vanished, rocking his self-confidence, threatening his family’s security and making his adolescent son’s difficult life even more painful. Returning to the little Central Illinois farm town of Abbeville, where his grandfather had prospered and then fallen into ruin, flattened during the Depression, George seeks out the details of this remarkable man’s rise, fall, and spiritual rebirth, hoping he might find a way to recover himself.
Abbeville sweeps through the history of late-19th through early-21st century America—among loggers stripping the North Woods bare, at the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, with French soldiers at the Battle of Verdun, into the abyss of the Depression, and finally toward the new millennium’s own nightmares. At the same time it examines life at its most intimate. How can one hold onto meaning amidst the brutally indifferent cycles of war and peace, flood and drought, boom and bust, life and death?
In clean, evocative prose that reveals the complexity of people’s moral and spiritual lives, Fuller tells the simple story of a man riding the crests and chasms of the 20th century, struggling through personal grief, war, and material failure to find a place where the spirit may repose. An American story about rediscovering where we’ve been and how we’ve come to be who we are today, Abbeville tells the tale of the world in small, of one man’s pilgrimage to come to terms with himself while learning to embrace the world around him.
$14.95 US / $17.95 C | Fiction Paperback | 6x9 | 272 pages
ISBN: 978-1-932961-90-4 | Carton Quantity: 24
A man emerged from the office, drying his hands on a paper towel. He wasn’t as weathered as a farmer, and though he was probably in his thirties, he had the face of a boy.
“Henry Mueller,” said the young man. “My grandfather and yours were good friends. He was Henry, too. Harley Ansel was his nephew, but my grandfather didn’t have any use for him after what he done to yours. Go ahead and fill it up.”
I pushed open the screen door. They were predicting showers, but there was no sign of them yet. The little vane in the glass bubble on the face of the old pump spun as the gasoline streamed over it, just as it had when my father had filled up his used Ford on Sunday afternoons for the drive back to Park Forest.
“This ought to cover it,” I said, coming back through the door and pulling a twenty from my pocket.
“How much was it?” he asked.
“Nineteen seventy-six,” I said. “Keep it.”
The mechanic pulled open a drawer and rooted around in it for coins.
“There,” he said. “We’re square.”
“I’ve been thinking about my grandfather a lot lately,” I said.
“Some say the bubble busting like it done could bring on another Depression,” said the mechanic.
“That’s what raised the ghost for me, all right,” I said.
“Then you’d better stop trying to pay more than you owe,” the mechanic said. “Ask your grandfather’s ghost where generosity got him.”