Nic Brown, Author . Counterpoint $14.95 (172p) ISBN 978-1-58243-506-0

In Brown’s hip, assured debut, a series of vignettes adds up to a keen portrait of a small North Carolina town. It’s September 21, 1989, in Lystra, N.C., and Hurricane Hugo is bearing down on residents and visitors alike, including shy Tennessean Cliff, in town for the wedding of his cousin, with whom he had a tender, confusing adolescent affair; high school girls Grier and Fletcher, best friends and rivals for the affection of Fletcher’s brother, the be-mohawked Mike; Evelyn Graham, for whom “funerals were social events whose invitations were printed in The News & Observer obituaries”; and Pat Doublehead, a Cherokee veterinarian with an eye for little boys. Brown, a former journeyman musician, slides easily between his characters, rendering them in believable relief, from Cliff’s romanticism to Fletcher’s calm competence in an emergency. Though none of the players gets much time on stage—the novel is short and the character list long—Brown makes the most of them, revealing their secrets and tragedies with careful, confident economy. Think Winesburg, Ohio simultaneously pared down and amped up, read to the sound of a jangly Strat. (July)

Reviewed on: 04/06/2009
Release date: 06/01/2009
Open Ebook - 185 pages - 978-1-58243-943-3
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