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The Heaven of Mercury by Brad Watson
In Mercury, Mississippi, old Finus Bates writes obituaries, hosts a radio show, and has been in love with Birdie Wells ever since he saw her do a naked cartwheel 80 years ago. Yet they were both badly married to other people. Finus is at the center of the story and the town that Brad Watson brings to life with its peculiar characters, southern drawl, and a hint of a magical afterlife where Finus can finally be with Birdie. A nominee for the 2002 National Book Award, The Heaven of Mercury has been warmly received. The Charlotte Observer calls it "a strangely beautiful book."