Admirers of Elizabeth Spencer's writing will welcome back into print her first novel, and her new readers will discover the sources of her notable talent in this book. Published in 1948 to extraordinary attention from such eminent writers as Robert Penn Warren, Eudora Welty, and Katherine Anne Porter, this father-and-son story revolves around an old southern theme of family grievances and vendettas. Fire in the Morning recounts the conflict between two families extending over two generations up to the 1930s. The arrival of an innocent stranger flares old arguments and ignites new passions. In Spencer's compelling tale of half-forgotten violence, Kinloch Armstrong, the young hero, confronts mysteries of the past. His wife, a newcomer to the area and its legacies, makes friends with a family of traditional rivals. After she is involved in a nighttime wreck and the death of a local man, the past gradually comes to light, and the two families once again become caught up in revelations, hatreds, and conflicts. Spencer faithfully renders the setting--a small, dusty Mississippi town--and the surrounding countryside as it was in the early twentieth century.
Elizabeth Spencer, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, is the author of nine novels, seven collections of short stories, a memoir, and a play. Her novella The Light in the Piazza (1960) was adapted for the screen in 1962 and transformed into a Tony-winning Broadway musical of the same name in 2005. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a charter member of Fellowship of Southern Writers.