Provinces of Night by William Gay
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I finished reading this book five days ago, and I am still thinking about what happened after the book ended. I've started and finished other books since then, and as I've read them, I've wondered how the characters of this book would have fit in to other stories. I wonder how the characters of these new books would have interacted with the Bloodworth family. How would they have fit in that tough little corner of south western Tennessee? William Gay is such a good story teller that his people and places will stay with you for a long, long time.
The jacket flap of this book will lead you to believe that this is a story of a father returning and the three sons that he never connected with during the hit and miss years he did live at home. It's not that story. This is the story of the grandson, Fleming, a young man who can not catch a break. Fleming dreams of being a writer (perhaps a bit of autobiographical writing for Gay?), and most of the story is told through his eyes. He is an observer, a kid who prefers to live on the edge and observe what goes on around him. Eventually, through the absence of his own father, the return of the grandfather he never met, and the ongoing presence an amazing (and never extraneous) supporting characters, Fleming decides to go "out among them". The story weaves and turns, characters are introduced and then dropped, but in the end, everything is brought back together believably. There are very sad parts to the whole story (even the creepy prologue isn't there just for atmosphere). Depending on your opinion of Fleming's reaction to all that has happened to him and his family, the ending is either sad or a window opening. Either way you look at it, the story will stay with you.
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