Title: Provinces of Night
Publisher: Doubleday, New York, New York, U.S.A.
Publication Date: 2000
Book Condition: Fine
Dust Jacket Condition: Almost Fine
Edition: First Edition
Book Type: Modern Literature
DJ has slight diagonal crease along edge of front flap. 293pp. Stated 1st Ed. with Complete number line.Tight, square, bright copy. No remainder mark. Crisp, unclipped DJ in Mylar cover. Bookseller Inventory # 13596
Synopsis: In 1999 William Gay's debut novel The Long Home signaled the arrival of a bold new voice in American fiction. In a rave review in the New York Times Book Review, Tony Earley wrote, "In the high tradition of the Southern novel, Gay is unafraid to tackle the biggest of the big themes, nor does he shy away from the grand gesture that makes those themes manifest," and the Denver Post heralded it as "a novel of great emotional power."
With PROVINCES OF NIGHT, Gay's talent is undeniable. The year is 1952, and E. F. Bloodworth has returned to his home--a forgotten corner of Tennessee--after twenty years of roaming. The wife he walked out on has withered and faded, his three sons are grown and angry. Warren is a womanizing alcoholic, Boyd is driven by jealousy to hunt down his wife's lover, and Brady puts hexes on his enemies from his mamma's porch. Only Fleming, the old man's grandson, treats him with the reverence his age commands, and sees past all the hatred to realize the way it can poison a man's soul. Fleming, a seventeen-year-old dreamer, interprets this seemingly stark world with the uncynical wit and wisdom of the young. When he encounters Raven Lee, a sloe-eyed beauty from a neighboring town, he slowly finds the courage to face this family curse.
In a tale redolent with the crumbling loyalties and age-old strife of the South, Gay's characters inhabit a world driven by blood ties that strangle as they bind.
Review: In his second novel, Provinces of Night, William Gay re-creates the oppressive, evocative atmosphere of the American Deep South that he first explored in his debut novel, The Long Home. Against the backdrop of rural Tennessee in the 1950s, our teenage protagonist, Fleming Bloodworth, finds himself alone in the family home after his father, Boyd, abandons him to hunt down and kill his wife's lover. At the same time, Fleming's grandfather decides to return to his family after 20 years of self-imposed exile. He returns to discover that his remaining two sons, Warren and Brady, are in turn an alcoholic womanizer and a Bible-quoting fantasist who enjoys putting curses on his enemies.
This is a self-consciously big novel in the Southern tradition that could easily have buckled under the weight of its own ambition. Instead, Gay pulls it off with ease, presenting us with a stream of unforgettable characters. While the central themes of love, loyalty, and forgiveness are explored seriously and sensitively, the finely wrought prose is also sprinkled with moments of genuine humor as Gay proves that he's not afraid to gently mock his gang of Southern eccentrics. This is a wonderful novel and a worthy successor to the tradition it so obviously admires. --Jane Morris, Amazon.co.uk
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