Reminiscent of the works of Kaye Gibbons and Mona Simpson, Susan Thames' I'll Be Home Late Tonight offers an incandescent examination of the bond between a mother and a daughter. During a car trip through the South of a generation ago, two women learn about each other's strengths, failings, and secrets.
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Fleeing a soured marriage in the late 1950s, reckless, feckless June Wolsey drives through small towns in the American South. Beside her is Lily, her 12-year-old daughter and ambivalent accomplice who nervously watches normality recede in the rearview mirror, but admits their stifling hometown was full of people "who loved you so well and did you so wrong it made you feel like damning them all to hell." Fearing abandonment, Lily travels aimlessly with man-crazy June, who claims to have her sights set on "something big, something fine." They eke out a continually slipping existence for four years, all the while learning more about each other's dark side than any mother and daughter should know. Though this debut novel loses momentum toward the end, its colorful phrasing and strong sense of place make it well worth the ride.From Kirkus Reviews:
Mother and daughter flee home with too little money and no plans in this depressing and catharsis-free first novel--set in the '50s--by the author of the story collection As Much As I Know (1992). Twelve-year-old Lily Wolsey's mother, June, doesn't like knowing that her traveling-salesman husband sleeps around on his business trips, but she's willing to look the other way until the day he chooses to move in with one of his other women. Stuck in her mother's house in Covington, Virginia, with no one but Lily for company, June decides to run away, taking her daughter with her. The trouble is, June has no plans, no skills, and nowhere to go--so instead of moving to another town and starting life over, June and the confused Lily keep driving, roughly in circles, around the southern half of the US. Wherever the Wolseys go, trouble follows: A visit to a cousin ends abruptly when June and the cousin's husband are caught with clothes askew; a stay with an in-law in Florida ends when June, drunk as usual, is raped by their hostess's son. Meanwhile, as their finances decrease, June steals, lies, and prostitutes herself to pay for yet another motel room or repairs for the car. Lily, terrified of being left behind, shrugs off the years of school she's missing and learns to flirt with men for money just like her mom. Eventually the two take to buses and trains, sleeping in flophouses until a longer stay in a black-owned bar on the poor side of Memphis gives Lily the time to catch her breath, collect a few dollars, and leave her mother. A tale of degradation and desperation, for those who like their coming-of-age stories extra noir. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description Villard Books, New York, 1997. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good. First Edition. It was 1957, I was twelve years old, me and my mother June were gassing up the Buick at the filling station in Welch, West Virginia, on our way to the rest of our lives. " So begins this novel, a funny and tender road story of a mother and daughter's search for the turn on the map that will bring them the good life. June uproots her daughter Lily from her West Virginia home, only to fall prey to a world as dangerous and absurd as the one they left behind. Through Lily's poignant, precocious, and often comic observations, we begin to unravel the delicate tangling of mother-daughter emotions, of two hearts in unison headed ultimately for separate destinations. 211 pages. The binding has a bit of wear at the top corners. 8vo - over 7Â¾" - 9Â¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 001616
Book Description Villard, 1997. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0679419160
Book Description Villard, 1997. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # SONG0679419160
Book Description Book Condition: Brand New. Book Condition: Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 97806794191671.0