Last Things

Madison Jones, Author Louisiana State University Press $17.95 (206p) ISBN 978-0-8071-1549-7
Pungent with a dark and delicate sensibility, this first novel takes us deep into the murk of a small, corrupt Southern village. Wendell Corbin, an improbable graduate student in English literature and a would-be novelist, has scrabbled up from the depths of a poor, uneducated family. Two of his brothers are named Majer and Miner; his father is so dimwitted that he ``was just barely capable of forming habits.'' Having ``sworn never again to set foot'' in Bliss County when he left for college, Wendell finds himself back where he started when he agrees to rent a room from his mentor, the hirsute, Blake-spouting, pot-smoking, professor Leonard T. Rathbone. Rapidly falling in with an old drug connection, Wendell is soon involved in a lucrative drug-running ring presided over by an upstanding pillar of the community. Adultery and finally murder ensue as Wendell capitulates to his own cravings for respect, money, and perhaps a flirtation with the very squalor from which he escaped. Despite some loose ends and lapses into pedestrian prose, Jones has created an original novel that goes far beyond the typical odd man out in a rural Southern town scenario. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1989
Release date: 09/01/1989
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