Marriage of Anna Maye Potts

A Novel

  • Author(s): Henry, Dewitt
  • Series: Peter Taylor Prize for the Novel
  • Imprint: Univ Tennessee Press
  • Publication Date: 2001-10-11
  • Status: Active
  • Available in Hardcover - Cloth: Price $24.95 | Buy Now

A novel of profound and humane realism, The Marriage of Anna Maye Potts tells the story of a 36-year-old Philadelphia woman whose quiet, working-class life is suddenly shaken by the death of her widowed father and by her younger sister’s takeover of the family home.

Forced out of the house she has lived in for years, Anna Maye Potts proves to be a person of mettle and integrity, but only gradually does she come to realize her own strength. At the chocolate factory that employs her, she draws closer to a longtime co-worker named Louie, a man twenty years her senior. Louie has his own problems: alcoholism, a wife dying of cancer, a retarded daughter, and a penchant for adultery. His wife’s death leaves him anguished and baffled. Sharing his feelings with Anna Maye, he asks her out, and they begin to contemplate a life together.

Once they are married, however, Louie is reluctant to grant Anna Maye the place in his life that his first wife had occupied. Anna Maye must then take charge, persuading Louie to bring his daughter home from the state school in which he has placed her and to commit himself to their future. Uncertainties remain, but Anna Maye has by this point achieved her own spiritual triumph.

In his first novel, DeWitt Henry displays an extraordinary gift for portraying ordinary lives. His narrative touch is deft; his eye for the telling detail is unerring. The Marriage of Anna Maye Potts signals the emergence of an outstanding talent.

The Author: A respected editor, essayist, and short-story writer, DeWitt Henry teaches at Emerson College in Boston and was the founding editor of the literary magazine Ploughshares, for which he received a Massachusetts Commonwealth Award. He has published five anthologies, most recently Breaking Into Print: Early Stories and Insights into Getting Published (A Ploughshares Anthology), Fathering Daughters: Reflections by Men (with James Alan McPherson), and Sorrow’s Company: Writers on Loss and Grief.