Lisa Howorth was born in Washington, D.C., where her family has lived for four generations. She moved to Oxford, Mississippi, where she married her husband, Richard, and raised their three children. They opened Square Books (named by Publishers Weekly as the 2013 Bookstore of the Year) in 1979. She received the Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts in 1996 and a MacDowell Colony Fellowship in 2007. Her writing has appeared in Garden & Gun and the Oxford American. This is her first novel.
Thirty years after her stepbrother's unsolved murder, a reluctant Mary Byrd Thornton is forced by a detective's call to return to her family and again confront the crime's irremovable stain.
This stunning debut—from the cofounder of the legendary Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi—is a work of fiction, but the murder is based on the still-unsolved case of Lisa Howorth's stepbrother, a front page story in the Washington Post. And yet this is not a crime novel; it is an honest and luminous story of a particular time and place in the South, where even calamitous weather can be a character, everyone has a story, and all are inextricably entwined. With a flamboyant cast, splendid dark humor, a potent sense of history, and a shocking true story at its heart, Flying Shoes is a rich and candid novel from a fresh new voice about family and memory and one woman's flight from a wounded past.
"Like all great stories from Mississippi, Flying Shoes never proceeds in a straight line. It twists and turns in order to notice what matters most in life, and then delivers us to exactly where we need to be. Those of us who have waited a long time for this book celebrate its arrival." —Ann Patchett, author of This is the Story of a Happy Marriage and State of Wonder
"Lisa Howorth's dazzling verbal wit almost stops you in your tracks while you are flying along in this delicious prose. It is a scream - also heartbreaking, saucy, sassy, poignant, and triumphant. Mary Byrd is a bold, kooky, quirky character I won't forget. It has been a long time since I read a novel with such charm, generosity, humor, daring and brillance. It is just splendid." —Bobbie Ann Mason, author of In Country and The Girl is the Blue Beret
"Lisa Howorth's Flying Shoes braids a love know of new South, old South, and haunted South that catches at the reader's heart, even as the humor and sadness of her rollicking prose has us slipping off our own shoes and moving to the music in her voice. Flying Shoes is exhilarating and brave, full of love and grief and the journeys we all make from past to present." —Jayne Anne Phillips, author of Quiet Dell and Lark and Termite
"Flying Shoes offers a well-done portrait of a girl who survived a horrific tragedy and emerged in middle age with her empathy, sense of generosity and ability to forgive intact." —Washington Post
"A potent mix of Southern melancholy and charm . . . Flying Shoes luxuriates in life’s messiness—eccentric friends, freakish weather—and its sadness, too . . . A-." —Entertainment Weekly
"Howorth writes with real flair . . . A memorable mosaic of a place, a time and a good-hearted woman at midlife, facing crises old and new." —Associated Press
"[A] buzz-worthy debut." —Booklist
, the delicious first novel from Lisa Howorth . . . [is] funny, character-driven storytelli
“It’s been a long time since I read a novel with such charm, generosity, humor, daring, and brilliance. It is just splendid.” —Bobbie Ann Mason