Newfound

Jim Wayne Miller, Author Orchard Books (NY) $14.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-531-05845-9
Rural life in Appalachia, as seen through the eyes of an adolescent boy, is the subject of this first novel. Robert, the narrator, tells of the mismatch between his charming but flighty father, son of the local landlord, and his doughty mother, a sharecropper's daughter. His father's refusal to settle down tries his mother's patience to the point that she takes Robert and his younger brother and sister to live with her parents, tenants on his paternal grandparents' farm. Life in tiny Newfound Creek has a timeless quality: farm chores, dictated by the season, are mostly accomplished without machines; TV, radio and magazines don't seem to exist. The only reference to the outside culture is mention of a long-haired man, which fixes the time frame in the late '60s or early '70s. The sights, sounds and people of the Tennessee mountains are well-evoked here, and the author makes some astute observations about human relationships. But this fictional memoir's curiously detached tone and lack of dramatic focus are unaffecting and make this work read more like a series of vignettes than a novel. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1989
Release date: 10/01/1989
Hardcover - 978-0-531-08445-8
Paperback - 214 pages - 978-0-917788-59-8
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