Set during and after the Battle of Franklin in the U.S. Civil War, The Black Flower is a powerful telling of the destruction of war on the human psyche as well as the body. There are two main characters in the story. The first is Bushrod Carter, a 26 year old soldier from Cumberland, Mississippi.
He suffers a concussion during this battle, which causes him to lose a finger and most of the friends in his unit. When he wakes, he finds himself at a nearby plantation that has been converted into a field hospital. Anna Hereford, the second main character in Bahr’s novel, is the cousin of the plantation owner. She works tirelessly to nurse the wounded, but manages to keep an emotional distance until she meets Bushrod Carter. Upon giving him her name, she forges a bond that impresses upon her all the hurt and pain of the war within this single relationship. It is heartbreaking.
Howard Bahr’s novel is beautifully written, intersecting the dreamlike stupor of the insensibility of war with it’s harsh, coarse reality. I highly recommend it.
4 1/2 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2000