Unheard Melodies

Warren Leamon, Author Longstreet Press $16.95 (214p) ISBN 978-0-929264-26-4
In this impressive debut novel by a University of Georgia English professor, the adolescent narrator confronts a variety of puzzling questions in post-WW-II Atlanta. Was alcoholic Uncle Luther ruined by the Army? Was grandmother's shoe stolen as she claims? Why is Aunt Mary's brother Matt in an institution? Are the fowls served for dinner duck, as the boy's mother claims, or the children's outgrown Easter pets, Rhett and Scarlett? There are no reliable authority figures to help the boy resolve these issues: his father keeps going off on binges, and his Uncle Thad, in a horrible confrontation, kills his son Allen, whom the boy admired for escaping ``a family of failures and eccentrics.'' As an adult, the narrator looks back on the business of winning and losing, on distinctions between blacks and whites, rednecks and the upper crust. Coming-of-age stories are common, but this one impresses beyond the norm with its wrenchingly funny, genuinely universal characters and its sharp portrait of a city and country changing from old to new. (May)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1970
Release date: 01/01/1955
Genre: Fiction
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