Cover image for The last list of Miss Judith Kratt : a novel
The last list of Miss Judith Kratt : a novel
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311 pages ; 21 cm.
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Judith Kratt inherited all the Kratt family had to offer - the pie safe, the copper clock, the murder that no one talks about - and she knows in her old bones that it's time to make an inventory of her household and its valuables. But she finds that cataloging the family heirlooms can't contain their misfortunes, not when her wayward sister suddenly returns, determined to expose secrets that the Kratts had hoped to take to their grave. Interweaving the present with chilling flashbacks from one fateful evening in 1929, Judith pieces together the influence of her family on their small South Carolina cotton town, learning that the effects of dark family secrets can last for decades. --


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"An amazing novel, one which interrogates, with such controlled and beautiful writing, what it means to be Southern. Utilizing a unique form and a carefully crafted mystery, Bobotis is a writer capable of deep truths, and this novel announces her as a major voice." --Kevin Wilson, author The Family Fang, Perfect Little World, and Baby, You're Gonna Be Mine

Judith inherited all the Kratt family had to offer -- the pie safe, the copper clock, the murder that no one talked about. She's presided over the house quite well, thank you very much, admittedly with some help from her companion, Olva.

But her wayward younger sister suddenly returns home after decades, sparking an inventory of all that belongs to them. Set in the hard-luck cotton town of Bound, South Carolina -- which the Kratts used to rule but which now struggles to contain its worst instincts -- the new household overflows with memories.

Interweaving the present with chilling flashbacks from one fateful evening in 1929, Judith pieces together a list of what matters. Untangling the legacy of the family misfortunes will require help from every one of them, no matter how tight their bond, how long they've called Bound home, or what they own.

Author Notes

Andrea Bobotis was born and raised in South Carolina and received her PhD in English Literature from the University of Virginia. Her essays have appeared in journals and book collections such as Victorian Studies and the Irish University Review. Her novel was the runner-up for the James Jones First Novel Fellowship in 2014. Andrea now lives in Denver, CO, where she teaches with the Lighthouse Writers Workshop.

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Bobotis's thoughtful and quintessentially Southern debut opens with the 1929 obituary for 14-year-old Quincy Kratt, who was shot to death. The chief suspect is Charlie Watson, an employee of the Kratt Mercantile Company, whose whereabouts are unknown. In 1989, Quincy's older sister, Judith, is living in the crumbling Kratt family manse in Bound, S.C. Judith has recently received a postcard from her youngest sibling, Rosemarie, who disappeared at 13, shortly after Quincy's murder, saying that she's coming home at last. Rosemarie originally left because she believed Judith killed Quincy and let Charlie take the fall. Judith decides that this is the perfect time for her to take a complete inventory of everything the house has accumulated over the decades. As the list of heirlooms grows, so does Judith's understanding of her family's tragic past and her own role in it. Sometimes even the most well-intentioned actions have unexpected consequences, and long-held secrets fester. The complicated truth behind Quincy's murder will catch readers by surprise. The well-told tale unfolds like a magnolia, slowly revealing a languid beauty. Mystery fans will also be satisfied. Agent: Kerry D'Agostino, Curtis Brown. (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

The town of Bound, South Carolina, has a long memory. As does Judith Kratt, an elderly woman who lives in the house where she grew up. There, she's surrounded by the legacy of her once-feared and -revered father, who built and lost a business empire. But as this contemplative novel illuminates, legacy can take a number of forms. Judith's brother, Quincy, skilled at ferreting out people's secrets, was shot and killed when they were both teenagers, and the narrative bounces from the young to the old Judith, as long-held truths about Quincy's murder are revealed to be fiction. And when Judith's sister returns after a decades-long absence from the town she fled after their brother's death, more family secrets begin to come to light. Through this process, Judith remains obsessed with listing and categorizing the family's heirlooms, which, when pieced together, form a larger story. Judith's straitlaced yet forthright nature can be irksome, but her frankness also results in moments of surprising courage and compassion. The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt adeptly catalogs loss, hope, and redemption.--Bridget Thoreson Copyright 2019 Booklist

Library Journal Review

DEBUT It's May 1989, and in Bound, SC, Judith Kratt is making a list. As a girl, she inventoried her father's store. Now, she takes stock of the objects in her family home, where she and Olva have resided their whole lives. Olva may be a housekeeper and caretaker, but Judith thinks of her as a friend. Their home's objects tell stories, as do people, and when Judith's long-lost, sister Rosemarie, returns after 60 years, Judith begins to speak. Her story connects the present with one horrific day in 1929 when Judith and Rosemarie's brother, Quincy, was murdered. All three women were present that day, but all have different versions of the events that led up to that fateful moment and what happened after. South Carolina native Bobotis's debut is sure to place her alongside established authors such as Fannie Flagg. Rich in detail, it will carry readers between past and present, presenting historical issues of race, class, and belonging. VERDICT A mystery entangled in family secrets and racial tension, this tale will be enjoyed by fans of Southern fiction.--Shannon Marie Robinson, Drexel Univ. Libs., Philadelphia