Odie Lindsay’s debut novel is filled with the rich and complex texture of the American South. Some Go Home is set in the fictional town of Pitchlynn, Mississippi, where the sweet tea flows with extra sugar and the families all know each other’s business.
The novel centers on Colleen, a war veteran turned small-town beauty queen. Colleen marries Derby Friar, who took on his mother’s maiden name to escape the stigma of his estranged father, Hare Hobbs. Hare is on retrial for the violent murder of a Black man named Gabe who, decades earlier, worked the same land with Hare.
As Colleen and Derby prepare for the birth of their twins, Derby takes a job renovating the historic Wallis House, the site of the infamous murder. Derby’s boss is JP, a house flipper from Chicago. JP has returned to Pitchlynn to fulfill the final wishes of his late wife, Dru: to raise their infant daughter in Dru’s hometown. Alarm rips through the small Mississippi town as JP threatens Wallis House with modernization. Dru’s aunt, Susan George, comes on the scene to thwart JP’s renovation plans. Susan had a painful history with Dru, as Susan’s daughter fell to her tragic death from a magnolia tree on the Wallis House property.
The novel follows generations of Hare’s descendants, as well as Gabe’s granddaughter and her husband, Doc, who works as a corrections officer where Hare is being held before his trial. These vividly imagined lives intersect in Pitchlynn, where each person is either running from a troubled past or running back home, desperately seeking closure and acceptance.
Told in hypnotic and at times sharp-witted prose, Some Go Home asks what land means to us, what we will do for that land and who we’ll become along the way. It’s a story of class and race intersections, of how the haves often send the have-nots to do their bidding. With racially motivated violence and scenes of animal cruelty, Some Go Home is often difficult to read as it reflects on trauma, war, family and how the sins and shortcomings of our ancestors replay in our own lives. It’s a relevant story that begs us to reconcile the past with the present so that we can finally begin to move forward.