It molded him, this place, nurtured him until he could strike out for the big city to meet Pemberton and build an empire that still dominates the world. When I think about Peace Makers (a novel that’s been in-process for the last four years) in this context, I get goose bumps. Much of it has been written just blocks from where he would've lived. Will I, like Asa, have to leave to find my happy ending?
Oddly enough, there are other connections. By happenstance, the novel is set in Druid Hills, an Atlanta community that Candler helped build, featuring tree-lined streets and delightful linear parks designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. Emory University, to which the Coke magnate donated land and monies is the backdrop for at least one chapter and rates mention in several others. The Candler Building, a marvel of fantastical design, appears as the locale for another scene in downtown Atlanta.
Mere coincidence? A twist of fate? Maybe. But maybe not. Whatever the answer, it's something to ponder on a fine day in October in these red-clay hills of Georgia.
October 18, 2014
~ Olivia J. Herrell