In this touching, hilarious novel of the heart and mind, of dreams and memory, of desire and first love, Abe Lee comes of age in the 1960s, living with his unforgettable family at the Flamingo Drive-In Theatre on a scrubby patch of coast between Jacksonville and St. Augustine, Florida. There, some of America's last sweet moments of innocence are unfolding.
For Abe's father, Hubert, there's nothing better than presenting larger-than-life Hollywood fantasies on his vast silver screen. Nothing, that is, except gleefully sparring with Turner West--a funeral home operator who doesn't much appreciate the noise and merriment from the drive-in next door. Within the lively orbit of this ongoing feud is Abe's mother, Edna Marie, whose calm radiance conceals deep secrets; his sister, Louise, who blossoms almost too quickly into a stunning, willful young woman; and Judge Lester, a clumsy man on the ground who turns graceful when he takes to the sky, towing the Flamingo banner behind his small plane. Then Abe falls for Turner's beautiful daughter Grace. That's when, long before the Fourth of July festivities, the fireworks really begin. . . .
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Excerpts from reviews of Larry Baker's The Flamingo Rising
"A first novel that dares mix the Icarus, Oedipus and Earhart myths, risks
a Romeo and Juliet update, plunders Dante, references the Bible, rewrites
movie history and inside-outs the American past. Yet Baker's book is far
from pretentious. It's one of the more endearingly adept debuts to come
along in a while....A novel that is as fully realized as it is inventive,
humorous and heartaching."
--Los Angeles Times
"Like his flamingo, Baker never loses his footing."
--The Star Ledger
"[The Flamingo Rising] is an American original, as big and as full
of promise as a drive-in movie screen, formed out of the grist and gristle
of late 20th century fiction."
"This is much more than a sum of memorable parts; it is a literary tour de
force, a study of barriers built and torn down."
--New Orleans Times-Picayune
"This pitch-perfect first novel is reminiscent of the best of John
Irving....Like the giant July 4th fireworks display toward which the story
builds, this engaging, moving novel sends up one sparkler after another on
its way to a crash-bang, heart-stopping ending."
"The coming of age story is done to a fine turn in Baker's absolutely
delightful first novel, which is also a clever spin on the Romeo and
"A truly affecting work, and an inventive one."
"[Baker's] own sense of theatre is so grand that only after three hundred
pages does everything come joltingly into focus....Larry Baker is writing
for grownups but he remembers how it felt not to be one, and renders the
experiences in unforced, unshowy prose, neither folksy nor formal. The
result is a novel that's both modest and surprisingly seductive."
--The New YorkerFrom the Back Cover:
"An American original, as big and as full of promise as a drive-in movie screen."
--Atlanta Journal & Constitution
"WONDROUS . . . HUMOROUS AND HEARTACHING . . . ONE OF THE MOST ENDEARINGLY ADEPT DEBUTS TO COME ALONG IN A WHILE."
--Los Angeles Times
"[A] WINNING FIRST NOVEL . . . Baker is writing for grown-ups, but he remembers how it felt to not be one, and renders the experience in unforced, unshowy prose, neither folksy nor formal. The result is a novel that's both modest and surprisingly seductive."
--The New Yorker
"Resonates with good humor, adolescent lust, complex love, and heartrending loss."
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Book Description Ballantine Books, 1998. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110345427025
Book Description Ballantine Books. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0345427025 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.0106445