Now Is the Hour

Tom Spanbauer, Author . Houghton Mifflin $26 (459p) ISBN 978-0-618-58421-5

Spanbauer follows his well-received The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon with a risky assay into the traditional bildungsroman, with this straightforward but luminous tale of a country boy's self-liberation. In the summer of 1967, 17-year-old Rigby John Klusener is hitchhiking from his hometown of Pocatello, Idaho, to San Francisco to escape a life of religious, racial and sexual bigotry. He leaves behind a pregnant girlfriend, a hopelessly mystified mother, an embittered father and a sister trapped in a brutal marriage. As he waits for a ride out on the deserted highway, he winds the story back to his childhood, then virtually walks the reader through a life marked by hard farm work, Catholic guilt and the liberating passion of deep friendships formed with the most scandalously disreputable people of the community. From his first school-yard fight to first experiences with sex (of various sorts), cigarettes, alcohol, pot, jealousy and love, Rigby John's first person is at once reliable and highly ironic; we may know better, but he truly doesn't, and the distance is delicious. And his genuine astonishment at other people (great names: Allen "Puke" Price; Grandma Queep) keeps his telling edgy and warm, without allowing it to be sentimental. (May 15)

Reviewed on: 03/20/2006
Release date: 05/01/2006
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 480 pages - 978-0-09-950695-9
Hardcover - 459 pages - 978-0-224-08049-1
Paperback - 459 pages - 978-0-618-87264-0
Open Ebook - 480 pages - 978-1-4070-1428-9
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