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Lightning Songby Lewis Nordan
Synopses & Reviews
Leroy Dearman is twelve, and he lives on a llama farm in Mississippi. Life is perfect. It's true that his grandfather just died in the attic and that wild dogs kill a baby llama now and then, and it's true that one little sister curses him and the other one wets her pants. But up to the day Uncle Harris moves in, life looks like it's right out of a Walt Disney movie. No wonder the llamas greet each morning with a song.
Uncle Harris arrives in a sports car, full of funny stories and new ideas. He manages to persuade Leroy's straitlaced parents to join him for cocktails in the evening. He sets up a pretty grand bachelor pad in the Dearman attic, with a telephone, a TV set, and a stack of Playboy magazines. He is, you might say, Romance itself.
Once Uncle Harris moves in, life on the llama farm takes on an entirely different flavor. Leroy discovers those magazines. Electricity fills the Dearman house. Equilibrium tilts, conversation trails off, the atmospheric pressure twists — and lightning strikes. Leroy starts seeing things he's never seen before, like the very gifted baton-twirling teacher, and his world changes forever. Not since Portnoy's Complaint has a novel looked so directly, hilariously, and bittersweetly at the heartbreak of puberty.
"I must confess — reviewers have hearts too — that I love this boy....I love the novel's shifting tone, sardonic when that's required and tender when only tenderness will do." Valerie Sayers The New York Times Book Review
"Set on a llama ranch in Mississippi, this coming-of-age novel has plenty of off-kilter characters but nothing truly disturbing....Nordan's sense of life's not so-ordinary events makes Lightning flow evenly." Don Graham, Entertainment Weekly
"One of the best yarn spillers writing today continues to delight and entertain his growing readership....[A] sidesplitting, wonderfully ingratiating story that makes you feel good about good writing." Brad Hooper, Booklist
"[Nordan's] latest wild ride of the imagination....Hardly sentimental, Nordan's idiosyncratic fiction delights in its ragged edges — the tall tales, the wacky set pieces, the flat-out bizarre behavior." Kirkus Reviews
"Nordan's meandering plot is balanced by the rich cadences of his prose...and by the powerful moment of revelation in which Leroy's 'dark history was suddenly bathed in light' and he embodies his family's frustration and pain." Publishers Weekly
"A potent novel...rich with emotion." GQ
"Nordan handles this coming-of-age novel with grace, charm, and humor; its 'American-ness' may remind readers of the work of Wallace Stegner." Library Journal
"There are plenty of reasons for Lewis Nordan's growing popularity — namely his goofball Southern charm and irreverent, folksy storytelling panache....These attributes apply in full to the author's latest novel, Lightning Song, even if you sometimes feel he's trying too hard to please. The plot is a familiar one, if dolled up in showy eccentricities....Nordan has a knack for telling big, mythic stories, but here that quality works against him; Leroy's small but magical vision ultimately gets lost amid the pyrotechnics. Throughout Lightning Song, Nordan strains to create the illusion of spanning time....Generic family love ultimately triumphs here, and in the end, the lightning of Nordan's prose comes to feel like a showy — but empty — display." Maud Casey, Salon.com
Lightning Song Is Hilarious, high-risk fiction that walks the wire between vision and vertigo.
Leroy Dearman is twelve, and he lives on a llama farm in Mississippi when Uncle Harris arrives in a sports car, full of new ideas. He sets up a pretty grand bachelor pad in the attic, with a telephone, a TV set, and a stack of Playboy magazines. He is, you might say, Romance itself.
And life on the llama farm takes on an entirely different flavor. Electricity fills the house. Equilibrium tilts, lightning strikes, and Leroy finds himself kissing his innocence good-bye.
To join the Lewis Nordan Fan Club, send a postcard with your name and address to: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, P.O. Box 2225, Chapel Hill, NC 27515-2225.
Twelve-year-old Leroy Dearman lives on a llama farm in Mississippi with his straitlaced family. Then Uncle Harris arrives and sets up a bachelor pad in the attic, and life is never the same again. Not since "Portnoy's Complaint" has a novel looked so hilariously and bittersweetly at the heartbreak of puberty.
About the Author
Lewis Nordan was a professor of creative writing at the University of Pittsburgh for many years and the author of seven books of fiction and a memoir. His awards include three American Library Association Notable Book citations, the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award for fiction, the Mississippi Authors Award for fiction, and the Southern Book Critics Award for fiction. He died in 2012.
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