Butterfly Weed

Donald Harington, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $24 (384p) ISBN 978-0-15-100164-4
Novelist Harington (Ekaterina) continues to revel in the foibles of the residents of Stay More, Ark., focusing this time on the Ozark hamlet's physician, Doc Swain. How Doc became a doctor, learning the deepest secrets of healing from the sweet and crusty Kie Raney, makes up the first part of the book. But Doc has learned his lessons so well and is so successful in his chosen profession that he discovers he is able to treat patients through their dreams. While the novelty of this treatment wins him many customers, the dream cures don't earn him much money. Doc is forced to teach high-school hygiene class, where he falls in love with a student and through witchcraft is turned (briefly) into the sex slave of the music teacher. But he is a hardy sort, not unlike the butterfly weed of the title, a root able to survive the worst either caterpillars or weather can dish out. Harington's rich and original language gives his characters depth and charm as well as puts a new spin on commonplace notions (""Bones is all we got to protect us from gettin squoze and scrunched by the cruel, mean world,"" remarks Doc's young love in health class) Naughty, tender and unpredictable, Butterfly Weed is a lively trip along a river of language. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/29/1996
Release date: 05/01/1996
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-15-600219-6
Paperback - 978-1-59264-097-3
Paperback - 307 pages - 978-1-61218-102-8
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