The Adventures of Flash Jackson: A Novel

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9780066211367: The Adventures of Flash Jackson: A Novel

Set in William Kowalski's signature town of Mannville, New York, The Adventures of Flash Jackson is the story of tomboyish Haley Bombauer and her ambition to bust out of the confines of her smalltown upbringing. With compassion and humor, the novel tells of her emergence into a world that, in her words, "was not designed with girls in mind," and her efforts to find a way to fit in without having to give up her beloved independence.

Introduced to a vivid and exciting imaginary life by her now-dead father, who bestowed upon her the nickname "Flash Jackson," Haley Bombauer confronts the summer of her seventeenth year with glorious anticipation. She envisions herself roaming the surrounding hillsides and forests on her beloved horse, Brother, venturing farther and farther away from her sleepy hometown and her ultracautious mother, who since the death of her husband has remained rooted firmly in the past.

But when Haley falls through the rotted roof of the barn, she is destined to spend the dog days of summer in a thigh-high cast, stuck at home with her mother, enduring visits from her spooky, unintelligible grandmother, pondering the error of her impulsive ways, and dreaming longingly of adventure. The year that follows will, in fact, transform not only her life but also the lives of those closest to her. Haley's "imprisonment" affords her peculiar grandmother the chance to see finally what the girl is made of-and to pass along some of the mysterious and mystical arts that only she remembers. As Haley comes to understand just who her grandmother is, and what the old woman can teach her, she is transformed-from a tomboy reluctant to accept her femininity to an extraordinary, powerful woman.

Steeped in imagery and lyricism, touched with the wisp of magical realism that has become William Kowalski's trademark, The Adventures Of Flash Jackson is a poignant and hilarious tale of self-discovery and the redemptive powers of love.

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About the Author:

William Kowalski was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1970. He has lived in Boston, New York, Santa Fe, West Palm Beach, and the Mojave Desert, and currently lives in the Maritime Provinces of Canada. He is now at work on a fourth book.

From Publishers Weekly:

This amusing, slightly bizarre novel by Kowalski (Eddie's Bastard) puts a supernatural spin on a familiar coming-of-age story. Seventeen-year-old tomboy Haley Bombauer lives with her widowed mother in upstate New York. Though they look much like anyone else, the Bombauer women are actually witches-or at least, Haley's reclusive grandmother is. Her mother has given up the family tradition, and Haley herself never took an interest until she breaks her leg and has to spend a summer recuperating indoors. She becomes so bored that she starts messing around with spells. At the urging of her mother, she moves in with her strict, forbidding grandmother, who teaches Haley the healing arts and some other skills. Though Haley is at first resistant, she gradually comes to embrace her special powers. When the outside world threatens to interfere with this dubious education, the old woman and her cabin vanish into thin air. Haley continues to live in the woods on her own; she eventually makes a partial return to civilization as the town healer, but not before she has an unlikely adventure with drug smugglers and a wild sexual encounter with a neighbor boy. Her exploits as a feral woodswoman are implausible even by the loose standards of this book and make for some comically absurd lines ("Note to self: When menstruating, bury used tampons very deep. Something has been digging them up lately. Something big"). Yet Haley is a winning narrator whose dry sense of humor keeps the celebration of womanhood from getting too syrupy.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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