May 28, 2003
Greenwood native Donna Tartt has published two novels in 10 years.
Her latest is "The Little Friend," the story of how a sister avenges her brother's death.
The book is set in a small Mississippi town. Harriet Cleve Dufresness grows up in the shadow of her brother, who when she was only a baby was found hanging from a tree in their yard.
His killer was never identified, nor has his family in the years since recovered from the tragedy.
For Harriet, who has grown up largely unsupervised in a world of her own imagination, her brother is a link to a glorious past she has only heard stories about or glimpsed in photo albums.
Fiercely determined, precocious far beyond her 12 years, and steeped in the adventures literature of Kipling and Conan Doyle, she resolves one summer to solve the murder and exact her revenge.
A revelation of familial longing and sorrow, "The Little Friend" explores crime and punishment as well as the hidden complications and consequences that hinder the pursuit of truth and justice.
Tartt said she was a precocious child with an early love for literature. She wrote her first poem at age 5 and published her first sonnet in a Mississippi literary review at age 13.
In fall 1981, she entered the University of Mississippi. She transferred after her freshman year to Bennington College, a small liberal arts college in Vermont, where she became friends with novelists Bret Easton Ellis and Jill Eisenstadt.
During her second year at Bennington, she began writing "The Secret History," which depicts the murder of a student at a small college in Vermont by his fellow Greek classics classmates.
Bennington College in Vermont was the model for the fictional college in Tartt's debut novel.
Book: "The Little Friend."
How to order: Available online at Amazon.com or in stores.
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf.
The price: $26.
If you are a new author and would like your book featured in this column. Send book and background information to Penny Randall, The Meridian Star, P.O. Box 1591, Meridian, MS 39302; call: (601) 693-1551 or e-mail: email@example.com Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Penny Randall / staff writer
May 25, 2003
Peter Davidson and Brent McCarty closed an era in their family when they received diplomas during graduation ceremonies at Meridian High School on Friday.
McCarty, 18, who was the school's valedictorian, will attend Millsaps College to pursue a career as a doctor.
Davidson, also 18, received an academic scholarship to Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Ind. Davidson was a high honors graduate and a standout track and cross country runner at Meridian High.
Their grandmother, Pauline Busbee, began the tradition more than 60 years ago when she earned her high school diploma from the old Meridian High, what is now known as Kate Griffin Junior High School.
Eight of Busbee's children and 11 of her grandchildren have attended Meridian public schools. Five of her children attended Meridian Community College. Busbee has nine great-grandchildren but none live in Meridian.
Busbee holds fond memories of her high school years and describes them as "wonderful." She even wrote her class song.
Her graduation class contained almost 200 students. McCarty and Davidson's class was nearly double in size at about 370.
Both McCarty and Davidson have decided to attend smaller colleges where they will receive more academic attention.
There is also a tradition of educators in Busbee's family.
Her late husband, Wes, was a teacher. One of her sons teaches at Belhaven College. And a grandson received a Fulbright Scholarship for research, is working on his doctorate degree at the University of California and plans to teach in the future.
Although Busbee, 85, has mixed feelings about seeing her last grandsons graduate, she said she is optimistic about their future.