Hap & Hazard and the End of the World

Fifth-generation Texan Diane DeSanders's first novel, Hap & Hazard and the End of the World, perfectly captures life near Dallas after World War II, as seen through the eyes of a child.

The unnamed young narrator is the oldest daughter of Dick and Jane. Dick came home from the war with life-altering wounds, both in body and mind, and now works in his father's Cadillac dealership. Jane takes care of their three little girls with the help of their black maid, May-May. Life in this household is not easy, with depression, alcoholism and PTSD ever-present.

The little girl yearns for attention from her parents but, fortunately, she has warm relationships with her grandparents and other family members, some of whom are quite eccentric. Her constant questions lie at the heart of the story. There is so much she wants to know, but the adults in her life rarely give her a straight answer, whether she is asking about Santa Claus or why no one talks about the Jewish roots in their family.

At turns disturbing and hopeful, this immersive novel puts the reader in the mind of this confused little girl. She sees and experiences horrible things as the fabric of her life and sometimes enjoys the delights of a normal childhood, like running outside or sharing her best friend's clubhouse. Funny and nostalgic and occasionally unsettling, this child's view of her own small world also provides a picture of the wider world at that time. --Suzan L. Jackson, freelance writer and author of Book By Book blog

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