Karen Osborn

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Centerville

West Virginia University Press, Vandalia Press

It is 1967 at the end of a long, hot summer. On a Saturday afternoon in Centerville, a sleepy Midwestern town, a disaffected husband enters a busy drugstore where his estranged wife works and sets a bag with a homemade bomb on the floor. Outside the drugstore, a fourteen-year-old girl places her hand on the door, then inexplicably turns away and keeps walking. Moments later, standing safely inside a bowling alley with her best friend, she hears a sound like thunder. With one devastating explosion, the town is changed forever. In the next few days, four lives become entwined, as the townspeople face sudden loss and new, unpredictable realities. Set against the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement and the escalating Vietnam War, Centerville forms an engrossing meditation on the complex questions that arise in the wake of senseless violence.

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