Jan 30, 2010

Wish I Could Say More about Stay More

In every book, magazine, newspaper, or product package, in fact every printed word, are numerous references to people, places, or events that lead to other people, places, and events that lead to even more people, places, . . .well, you get the idea. But it is impossible to pursue them all because, like an old tree, the branches bifurcate time and time again until the original trunk that spawned the thread is only a dim memory. Eventually one has to say, “enough, I’ve traveled so far along this twig it’s lost any semblance to its parent, I think I’ll back up and try another branch, one with more girth.” But, these peregrinations do make for an interesting, exciting journey, and often lead into areas one would not otherwise have entered.

That’s how I became aware of Donald Harington. I forget what it was I was looking for when I read he had died (November 7, 2009), and that many considered him America’s greatest unrecognized novelist. I had never heard of him, so of course my interest was aroused. I had to get my hands on one of his books and quickly succeeded with “Farther Along”.

“Farther Along” was definitely different from the hundreds of other novels I had read, but like T. C. Boyle, and a few other contemporary authors, an entertaining read. I am now in the enjoyable process of reading his other twelve (I think) novels that feature, in one way or another, the mythic Ozark mountain town of Stay More. His novels are, if not unique, definitely a departure from the dry fodder we are usually offered and deserve far more attention.

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