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Written by Micola Magdalena
Codi is the protagonist of the novel, a young girl who moves back to her hometown Grace after her father got ill. What characterizes Codi is her inability to feel accepted by the community she lives in and by her struggle to find happiness and a meaning in her life. She always compares herself to her father and sister who seem to have everything figured out while she drifts from one place to another. Codi is torn between the desire to be independent and find love and meaning in her life. She is distant towards those around her and her cold attitude formed after she lost her mother at a young age and then her unborn child at the age of fifteen. Codi is the main narrative voice in the novel and she documents her journey in finding her place in the world and also her process of learning to live without her sister.
Homer is the town doctor in Grace and also Codi and Hallie’s father. He is unable to express his emotions properly and because of this he always had a cold relationship with his daughters. Despite his exterior, he loves his daughters dearly and would do anything for them. Homer thinks of himself as being an outsider to the community in Grace but those around him have a different opinion. It is clear that he is loved by the townspeople and that they consider him as being a valuable member. Homer begins to truly communicate with Codi only after his disease progresses considerably. Then, he tells her all the things he wanted her to know when she was younger but when he was unable to communicate with her properly.
Emelina is one of Codi’s childhood friends and among the only people with whom she continued to talk with after she left Grace. When Codi returns to her hometown, the first person she visits is her friend Emelina with whom she shares a deep bond. In comparison with Codi who seems to always be moving from one place to another, Emelina is the epitome of stability. She is happily married and with five children, all living in a quiet town away from the stress produced by the modern lifestyle. Despite her simple life, Emeline is much happier than Codi is and she feels contempt with the way she lives. Emelina focuses all her energy on her family and on the land she lives and is among the people who get involved in the process of stopping Black Mountain from throwing their toxic waste into the river.
Loyd was Codi’s ex-boyfriend from high school with whom she meets again when she returns in Grace. She and Loyd had a child that died and of which Loyd only found out when Codi returned to Grace. Loyd is a Native American and his love for land is what differentiates him from the others. He shares his people’s point of view in connection with the way one should live and use the resources he has, point of view different from the way the civilized world thinks. His different way of living and thinking is what attracts Codi and they reconcile and start a relationship again.
Hallie is Codi’s younger sister who left for Nicaragua towards the beginning of the novel. Hallie is three years younger than Codi and she shares a deep bond with her sister. Just like Codi, Hallie is unable to communicate properly with her father and resents him because he kept her away from the community. Hallie is described as being a stable person, someone who knows what she wants from life and who follows her dreams. Because of this, she decided to move into another country and try and help the poor there. Unfortunately, Hallie is killed by the Contras in Nicaragua and her death affects her sister greatly.
Carlo was Codi’s ex-boyfriend with whom she lived in Tucson together with her sister. After Hallie left, she and Carlo broke up because Carlo was more in love with Hallie that she was with Codi. While Carlo cares about Codi, he is not in love with her and Codi is not in love with him neither. Because of this, they are able to remain friends after they broke up and the two of them continue to communicate through letters. After the news of Hallie’s disappearance reached Codi, Carlo invited her to go back to him and live with him Tucson. Despite knowing that they don’t have romantic feeling for one another, Codi accepts his invitation and leaves Grace. They don’t end up together because Codi returns to Grace.
Inez is a Pueblo Indian and Loyd’s mother who lives on a reservation far away from any major city. She is described as being loving but also willing to do everything she can to make sure her family and land are safe.
Mrs. Quinta is Homer’s assistant at the hospital where he works. She cares a lot about Homer and she is one of the people who tell Codi about his condition and disease.
Leander is Loyd’s twin brother who died at fifteen during a bar fight. Just like Codi and Hallie, Loyd and Leander shared a special bond and were very close to one another. Leander is used in the novel as a metaphor for the way the modern world affected negatively Native population and communities.
Mr. Rideheart is an art collector with whom the women from Grace meet in Tuscon. After hearing about their problems and learning about what they want to achieve, he suggests them that they should try and make Black Mountain stop throwing toxic waste in the water instead of fighting against the dam that was planned to be built on the river.
Mason is one of Emelina’s children.
Nicholas is Emelina’s youngest boy. During her stay in Grace, Codi takes care of Nicholas frequently and she even saves his life once when he suddenly choked.
Jon is Emelina’s oldest son, a sweet boy who is almost and adolescent.
Curty and Glen
Curty and Glen are Emelina’s twin boys.
Juan Teobaldo is Emelina’s husband, the two of them being high school sweethearts. Like the majority of men living in Grace, T.J. works on the railroad. His job doesn’t stop him from spending time with his family and also caring for the land he lives on.
Dona Althea is the founder of the Stich and Bitch Club and also the matriarch of her family. She treats Codi with indifference and tries to keep her distance from her. When Codi finds that she and Dona Althea are related, she is unsure how to behave in her presence. Codi lets Dona Althea know that she learned about their connection only after Hallie’s funeral.
Viola is Juan Teobaldo Domingos’s mother and Emelina’s mother in law. She lives in the same house with Emelina and T.J. and is described as being one of the leaders of the movement that saved Grace. While she is presented as being a typical grandmother, her involvement proved her deep love for her community and the desire to preserve the past.
Uda is Homer’s nearest neighbor. Uda used to take care of Hallie and Codi when they were little and she was the one who stayed with Codi when her mother died.
Alice is Codi’s mother and Homer’s wife. When Codi was a little girl, Alice died as a result of some complications that resulted after Hallie’s birth. While not many information are given about her, it is said that her family didn’t agreed with her decision to marry Homer.
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