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Arkansas, 1914: A 13-year-old girl is raped in the backwoods of the Ozarks. On her testimony, a young mountaineer is convicted and sentenced to the electric chair.
Nail Chism, strangest and most solitary of the Chism clan that populates all of Donald Harington's novels about Stay More, Arkansas appears doomed to execution - until his innocence is championed by the staff artist of the state's leading newspaper. Viridis Monday could have become a painter in Paris during the era of Cubism and the Fauves, but instead she returned home to Little Rock. Will she succeed in saving Nail? Or will the singing - "choiring" - of the trees that Nail hears while strapped into the chair be the last earthly sound he will ever hear?
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Although he was born and raised in Little Rock, Donald Harington spent nearly all of his early summers in the Ozark mountain hamlet of Drakes Creek, his mother's hometown, where his grandparents operated the general store and post office. There, before he lost his hearing to meningitis at the age of twelve, he listened carefully to the vanishing Ozark folk language and the old tales told by story-tellers. His academic career is in art and art history and he has taught art history at a variety of colleges, including his alma mater, the University of Arkansas. His first novel was published by Random House in 1965, and since then he has published twelve other novels, most of them set in the Ozark hamlet of his own creation, Stay More, based loosely upon Drakes Creek. He has also written books about artists. He won the Robert Penn Warren Award in 2003, the Porter Prize in 1987, the Heasley Prize at Lyon College in 1998, was inducted into the Arkansas Writers' Hall of Fame in 1999 and that same year won the Arkansas Fiction Award of the Arkansas Library Association. He has been called "an undiscovered continent" (Fred Chappell) and "America's Greatest Unknown Novelist" (Entertainment Weekly).From Publishers Weekly:
As Nail Chism is led to the electric chair for the first time, he thinks he hears the trees singing in Stay More, his Ozarks hometown, a setting that Harington has used lovingly in his previous novels. But this book is a far cry from the larky irony of the anthropomorphic characters of The Cockroaches of Stay More . This is an intense, lyrical, moving story--based on fact--of an unjustly convicted criminal and the woman who saved his life. Harington makes of it a dramatic, engrossing narrative with the melodramatic pace of a cliffhanger, the tenderness of a pastoral romance, and the power of documentary-like descriptions of brutal prison conditions in Arkansas in the early 1900s. Falsely charged and convicted of raping a teenage girl, Chism is (temporarily) saved by a last-minute stay of execution. By that time, Viridis Monday, a newspaper artist covering the event, is convinced that he is innocent and begins a valiant campaign to gain his freedom. As usual, Harington renders his backwoods characters without patronizing or sentimentality, and he writes with sensitivity of the Ozarks life and landscape. Although sometimes the conceit of the singing trees becomes cloying, this is a significant novel that should please a wide audience.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Toby Pr, 2004. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M1592641032