Faraway Places

Tom Spanbauer, Author Putnam Publishing Group $16.95 (124p) ISBN 978-0-399-13361-9
The soft caress of a February chinook across harsh Iowa fields sets the tone of this finely wrought first novel about events occurring in Jake Weber's early adolescence. The observant and solitary only child of a taciturn father and quiet, religious mother, Jake disobeys their injunction against swimming in the river and, in doing so, witnesses the murder of a local Indian woman by Harold Endicott, who owns the mortgage on the Weber farm. Jake tells his parents what he's seen, but his father insists they say nothing, even as the woman's lover, a black man, is accused of the crime and flees. That summer, Jake sees the black man at the state fair and by speaking to him begins to make amends in his own heart. Soon after, Jake's father loses the farm and, in a drunken rage, accosts Endicott. The black man and Jake rescue the youth's father and, with the help of Endicott's five Dobermans, wreak their own revengebut at great personal cost. Balancing Jake's sensitivity against the harsh reality of farm life in the '50s, Spanbauer tells his short, brutal story with delicacy and deep respect for place and character. Forceful and moving, this novel is a promising debut. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/25/1988
Release date: 05/01/1988
Paperback - 124 pages - 978-0-06-097552-4
Paperback - 978-0-452-26221-8
Paperback - 102 pages - 978-0-9766311-8-7
Open Ebook - 68 pages - 978-0-9838504-5-8
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