In My Father's House: Tales of an Unconformable Man

Nancy Huddleston Packer, Author John Daniel & Company Books $7.95 (82p) ISBN 978-0-936784-34-2
These seven enjoyable essays, previously published in the Kenyon Review and other journals, celebrate family and American life, and focus on the author's father, an Alabama Congressman from 1915-37 who was ""a stern, just man, affectionate, but rather remote.'' Graceful writing that is original and insightful often pleases: ``My Saturday movie dime was entrusted to my brother George,'' remembers Packer who is the youngest child. ``As if poverty had made me mute, the ice cream man would ask my sister Jane what flavor I wanted.'' In ``Lee's Lieutenants,'' she recalls their Sunday outings to Civil War battlefields and affirms the need for a sense of family ancestry. The humorous ``The Man Who Loved the Scenery'' recreates the harum-scarum Huddleston clan car trips through the mountains and her parents' spirited repartee on the road. Packer repeatedly captures the emotional moments that, over years, comprise the warp and woof of the family fabric. Jocular incidents are her forte, and at times the reminiscence is hilarious. However, some writings lose their narrative flow to biography, and the last, ``The Man Who Said No,'' is an analysis of George Huddleston's political career. Yet, a witty and wholesome spirit animates each of the pieces here, and we only wish that there were more of them. An O. Henry winner and professor of creative writing at Stanford University, Packer is the author of Small Moments. (May)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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