Lookaway, Lookaway

Wilton Barnhardt. St. Martin’s, $25.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-250-02083-3
North Carolina native Barnhardt’s frothy, satirical latest (after Show World) is Southern gothic at its most decadent and dysfunctional. With each chapter dedicated to a different character—one more self-indulgent and flawed than the last—the sprawling saga of an esteemed clan’s fall from grace and fortune spools out in fits and starts. Some members are more emotionally complex (and therefore more entertaining to read about) than others. The sections devoted to the four flailing Johnston kids—including spoiled college co-ed Jerilyn’s drivel about her sorority-pledging shenanigans (think wanton lewd behavior including a tired sex-with-a-sheep joke)—delve into too much repetitive, perhaps excessive, detail. But the adults pick up the slack, chiefly Gaston—a bestselling author of Civil War–themed potboilers, who has a potty mouth, gobs of cash, and a weakness for hard liquor and prostitutes, and his sister, Jerene, the unflappable matriarch and “distillation of rich-white-lady force who could eat her social inferiors for hors d’oeuvres.” (Her hilarious one-liners are standouts.) As the scandals pile up, including a raucous Christmas dinner showdown, and a hoot of a finale that’s pure shock and awe, this mess of a family has nowhere left to go but up—well, not if they can help it. Agent: Henry Dunow, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Literary Agency. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/01/2013
Release date: 08/20/2013
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 368 pages - 978-1-250-02150-2
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-4272-3689-0
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-1-250-02228-8
Hardcover - 693 pages - 978-1-4104-6498-9
Compact Disc - 13 pages - 978-1-4272-2932-8
Show other formats
Discover what to read next