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Christian Bend by Karen Spears Zacharias

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One of the many impacts of war is how it affects the children of the veterans. Karen Spears Zacharias was born in Stuttgart, Germany, where her father was serving in the Army in 1956.  Later the family moved to Columbus, Georgia, where he was stationed, but in 1966, when she was ten-years-old, he was killed in action in Vietnam. The rest of the family remained in Columbus where she graduated from high school in 1974. She first attended Berry College nearby, but then transferred to Oregon State to pursue a career in journalism. Her first nonfiction book grew out of a newspaper assignment, and her second book was a memoir. After three more non-fiction books, she turned to fiction. Her novels are all set in Christian Bend, Tennessee, It is a community where she spent time after her father’s death, a place that she credits for helping her recover from that trauma. This novel, Christian Bend, continues the story of  Maizee Hurd’s son, Rain, begun in her first novel, Mother Rain (2013)  and the story of  Burdy Luttrell, continued from her second novel, Burdy (2015). “Karen Spears  Zacharias’s novel, Christian Bend, takes readers on an unforgettable journey through the gamut of human emotion, ultimately illuminating the meaning and necessity of forgiveness in our lives.  Literary fiction worth its salt should speak to the human condition . . .  and  Christian Bend does not disappoint and will leave you on your feet, tears streaking your face, cheering for more.” - Michel Stone. "In language rich and specific, Karen Spears Zacharias summons the mountains--its hymns and spells, its trees flaming with reds and golds, its families and their secrets. But Christian Bend, Tennessee is also part of a new culture of drugs, addiction and violence--a changing landscape. Coaxing beauty from the hollers of both memory and present, Christian Bend reminds us of the importance of place and of spirit.” - Karen Salyer McElmurray.

Macon, Georgia: Mercer University Press, 2017. 189 pages with discussion questions. Trade paperback