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The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat

Cover of The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat

The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat

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Meet Odette, Clarice, and Barbara Jean in the New York Times best-selling novel . . .

Earl's All-You-Can-Eat is home away from home for this inseparable Plainview, Indiana, trio. Dubbed "the Supremes" by high school pals in the tumultuous 1960s, they weather life's storms together for the next four decades. Now, during their most challenging year yet, dutiful, proud, and talented Clarice must struggle to keep up appearances as she deals with her husband's humiliating infidelities. Beautiful, fragile Barbara Jean is rocked by the tragic reverberations of a youthful love affair. And fearless Odette engages in the most terrifying battle of her life while contending with the idea that she has inherited more than her broad frame from her notorious pot-smoking mother, Dora.
Through marriage, children, happiness, and the blues, these strong, funny women gather each Sundayat the same table at Earl's diner for delicious food, juicy gossip, occasional tears, and uproarious banter.
With wit and love, style and sublime talent, Edward Kelsey Moore brings together four intertwined love stories, three devoted allies, and two sprightly earthbound spirits in a big-hearted debut novel that embraces the lives of people you will never forget.


From the Hardcover edition.

Meet Odette, Clarice, and Barbara Jean in the New York Times best-selling novel . . .

Earl's All-You-Can-Eat is home away from home for this inseparable Plainview, Indiana, trio. Dubbed "the Supremes" by high school pals in the tumultuous 1960s, they weather life's storms together for the next four decades. Now, during their most challenging year yet, dutiful, proud, and talented Clarice must struggle to keep up appearances as she deals with her husband's humiliating infidelities. Beautiful, fragile Barbara Jean is rocked by the tragic reverberations of a youthful love affair. And fearless Odette engages in the most terrifying battle of her life while contending with the idea that she has inherited more than her broad frame from her notorious pot-smoking mother, Dora.
Through marriage, children, happiness, and the blues, these strong, funny women gather each Sundayat the same table at Earl's diner for delicious food, juicy gossip, occasional tears, and uproarious banter.
With wit and love, style and sublime talent, Edward Kelsey Moore brings together four intertwined love stories, three devoted allies, and two sprightly earthbound spirits in a big-hearted debut novel that embraces the lives of people you will never forget.


From the Hardcover edition.
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  • From the book

    Chapter 1

    I woke up hot that morning. Came out of a sound sleep with my face tingling and my nightgown stuck to my body. Third time that week. The clock on the dresser on the other side of the bedroom glowed 4:45, and I could hear the hiss of the air conditioner and feel its breeze across my face. I had set the temperature to sixty before going to sleep. So common sense said that it had to be chilly in the room. Well, common sense and the fact that my husband, James, who lay snoring beside me, was outfitted for winter even though it was mid-July. He slept like a child--a six-foot, bald-headed, middle-aged child--wrapped in a cocoon he had fashioned for himself out of the sheet and blanket I had kicked off during the night. Just the top of his brown head was visible above the floral pattern of the linens. Still, every inch of me was screaming that the room was a hundred degrees.

    I lifted my nightgown and let it fall, trying to fan cool air onto my skin. That accomplished nothing. My friend Clarice claimed that meditation and positive thinking eased her path through menopause, and she was forever after me to try it. So I lay still in the predawn darkness and thought cool thoughts. I summoned up an old summer memory of hopping with the kids through the cold water jetting from the clicking yellow sprinkler in our backyard. I pictured the ice that formed every winter on the creek that ran behind Mama and Daddy's house in Leaning Tree, making it look like it was wrapped up in cellophane.

    I thought of my father, Wilbur Jackson. My earliest recollection of him is the delicious chill I got as a little girl whenever Daddy scooped me up in his arms after walking home on winter evenings from the carpentry shop he owned. I recalled how cold radiated from Daddy's coveralls and the way it felt to run my hands over the frost--coated hair of his beard.

    But Daddy's shop had been gone for ages. The Leaning Tree property, creek and all, had been the domain of various renters for half a decade. And my children were each at least twenty years beyond dancing in the spray of a sprinkler.

    No thoughts, at least not the ones I came up with, proved capable of icing down my burning skin. So I cussed Clarice for her bad advice and for making me think of the old days--a certain recipe for sleeplessness--and I decided to head for the kitchen. There was a pitcher of water in the Frigidaire and butter pecan ice cream in the freezer. I figured a treat would set me right.

    I sat up in the bed, careful not to wake James. Normally, he was as easygoing a man as you'd ever meet. But if I woke him before dawn on a Sunday, he would look at me sideways all through morning service and right up until dinner. So, in order not to disturb him, I moved in slow motion as I stood, slipped my feet into my house shoes, and made my way to the bedroom door in the dark.

    Even though I had made the trip from our bed to the kitchen thousands of times in pitch blackness, what with sick children and countless other nighttime emergencies during the decades of our marriage, and even though not a stick of furniture in our bedroom had been moved in twenty years, I rammed the little toe of my right foot into the corner of our old mahogany dresser not five steps into my journey. I cussed again, out loud this time. I looked over my shoulder to see if I had awakened James, but he was still snoring away in his linen wrappings. Hot and tired, my toe throbbing in my green terrycloth slip-ons, I had to fight the urge to run and wake James and insist that he sit up and suffer along with me. But I was good and continued to creep out of the room.

    Other than the faint...

About the Author-
  • EDWARD KELSEY MOORE has enjoyed a long career as a cellist. His short fiction has appeared in Indiana Review, African American Review, and Inkwell, among other journals. His short story, "Grandma and the Elusive Fifth Crucifix" was selected as an audience favorite on National Public Radio's Stories on Stage series.

Reviews-
  • Leah Hager Cohen, author of The Grief of Others

    "Edward Kelsey Moore has written a novel jam-packed with warmth, honesty, wit, travail, and just enough madcap humor to keep us giddily off-balance. It teems with memorable characters, chief among them Odette, as unlikely and irresistible protagonist as we are likely to meet. The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat is that rare and happy find: a book that delivers not only good story, but good company."

  • Julia Glass, author of Three Junes and The Widower's Tale "What a delight and a privilege it is to be among the earliest readers of this breathtaking debut. The supremely gifted, supremely entertaining, and supremely big-hearted Edward Kelsey Moore has conjured up the story of an entire community and, at its sparkling center, a trio of memorable heroines. How I long to have Odette, Clarice, and Barbara Jean on speed-dial! At least I'll be able to brag that I knew them before they hit the big time . . . as I can promise you they will."
  • Ilana Teitelbaum, Shelf Awareness "Funny and tenderhearted. . . Moore expertly combines tragedy and comedy in a way that feels fluid and natural, creating a world that is internally consistent and rich. . . . Perhaps the most remarkable quality of The Supremes is love--the author's love for his characters, even the most flawed, shines from every page."
  • Zetta Brown, The New York Journal of Books "Edward Kelsey Moore knows how to write a terrific, complex, believable, and always intriguing story."
  • Stevie Godson, The New York Journal of Books "A book that deserves to be read in its enchanting entirety before the inevitable movie deal comes to pass."
  • Publishers Weekly "Moore is a demonstrative storyteller and credits youthful eavesdropping for inspiring this multifaceted novel. Comparisons to The Help and Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe are inevitable, but Moore's take on this rowdy troupe of outspoken, lovable women has its own distinctive pluck."
  • Carolina De Robertis, author of Perla and The Invisible Mountain "A gripping novel that weaves together the lives of three remarkable women, and does so with flair, wit, and tremendous heart."
  • Library Journal "The author uses warmhearted humor and salty language to bring to life a tight-knit African-American community. . . . With salt-of-the-earth characters like fearless Odette, motherless Barbara Jean, and sharp-tongued Clarice, along with an event-filled plot that readers will laugh and cry over, this is a good bet to become a best seller."
  • Carleen Brice, author of Orange Mint and Honey and Children of the Waters "The Supremes at Earl's-All-You-Can-Eat is a scrumptious delight! I can't wait for my old friends to get to know my new friends: Odette, Barbara Jean, and Clarice (not to mention Odette's pot-smoking mama and her friend Mrs. Roosevelt!)."
  • Suzanne Levine, author of How We Love Now: Women Talk About Intimacy after Fifty "I am always a little suspicious of a male writer speaking for female characters, but Moore inhabits and enlarges the experience he creates so delightfully. A real triumph for a brilliant new novelist."
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