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Russell Huggins has died an indigent's death but left behind a formidable literary estate. Tom Shaw has been enlisted by The University of Maryland's Urban Archaeology Department to decipher and distill, catalogue and compile, Huggins' vast collection of single-spaced, handwritten journals and ledgers littering the second floor of Button House, a dilapidated mansion on the outskirts of Orchard Park, a Baltimore suburb. Is it but a case of riotous hypergraphia or does the University's adamancy suggest something else? Orchard Park tells the tale of one man's effort to scratch at the canvas; to peel away life's protective layers; to decrypt meaning from the cultural artifacts by which he is surrounded -- to achieve grace through creation and redemption through imagination.
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Orchard Park was constructed to combat the deceits of modern fiction and literary fiction, which is without an enduring message. Modern, degenerate fiction entertains, but that is all...; it is without a creed, it is without an audience of violent bearing, it is without beauty, it is without cause, and it does not aspire. In books, as in music, it is the dilettante that esteems deformity and erects roadblocks to beauty; that would condition all of us to see with jaundiced eyes and hear with wax-filled ears. We are no longer able to distinguish between hoax and reality. We are trained to want tales of things and places, not of Being and Ideas.
Tom Fahy is an author and composer.
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