Nowhere Else on Earth

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Humphreys, Josephine. Nowhere Else on Earth. 2000. New York: Penguin, 2001.

The narrator is Rhoda Strong, "Queen of Scuffletown," looking back from 1890 on the events of the Civil War and Reconstruction in Robeson County, North Carolina. Rhoda is the wife of the long-disappeared outlaw Henry Berry Lowrie. Both she and Henry are Scuffletown natives, part of the community of Lumbee Indians and their mixed-race relatives who are interleaved among the "mack" gentry families of the economically marginal turpentine country of southern North Carolina. The plot revolves around Henry and a gang of men (including Rhoda's favorite brother Boss), "lying out" in the countryside to escape conscription and hunted by the Home Guard. Keen prose, extravagant romance, and well-researched historical detail mesh here, in a mix that recalls Cold Mountain and the novels of Mary Lee Settle. Rhoda and Henry are in fact historical characters, though much-adapted to dramatic function in Humphreys's fictional version of them.


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