Synopses & Reviews
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.
"There is much to admire here: breathtaking, evocative writing and a dark, sardonic humor." USA Today
"It is time to stop calling William Gay an exciting new voice. In Provinces of Night he proves that he is simply one of our finest voices." Steve Yarbrough
"Provinces of Night is an old-fashioned barrel-aged shot of Tennessee storytelling. Gay's tale of ancient wrongs and men with guns is high-proof stuff." Elwood Reid
"A staggering talent. Almost a personal revival of handwork in fiction superb must be listened to and felt." Barry Hannah, author of Airships and Geronimo Rex
"Provinces of Night is one magnificent achievement, a wise, spare, hilarious, bighearted tale delivered in language as lovely as the Tennessee hills at dusk. To the list of premier Southern writers that includes Harry Crews, Barry Hannah, and Lewis Nordan, add the name of William Gay." Tom Franklin, author of Poachers
"Provinces of Night is an old-fashioned barrel-aged shot of Tennessee storytelling. Gay's tale of ancient wrongs and men with guns is high-proof stuff." Elwood Reid, author of What Salmon Know and Midnight Sun
"Provinces of Night is simply brilliant. William Gay writes with such astonishing clarity and authenticity that every single word inside this book rings true. Poetic and visceral, his words excavate a corner of the South with a new standard of excellence and readers and writers everywhere are the better for it. A must-read for anyone aware of the changing pulse of American literature." Melinda Haynes, author of Mother of Pearl
"Provinces of Night is not a novel for readers driven mainly by plot, or troubled by Gay's indifference for conventions like commas and quotation marks (à la McCarthy). But there is much to admire here: breathtaking, evocative writing and a dark, sardonic humor." Bob Minzesheimer, USA Today
Its 1952, and E.F. Bloodworth is finally coming home to Ackermans Field, Tennessee. Itinerant banjo picker and volatile vagrant, hes been gone ever since he gunned down a deputy thirty years before. Two of his sons wont be home to greet him: Warren lives a life of alcoholic philandering down in Alabama, and Boyd has gone to Detroit in vengeful pursuit of his wife and the peddler she ran off with. His third son, Brady, is still home, but hes an addled soothsayer given to voodoo and bent on doing whatever it takes to keep E.F. from seeing the wife he abandoned. Only Fleming, E.F.s grandson, is pleased with the old mans homecoming, but Flemings life is soon to careen down an unpredictable path hewn by the beautiful Raven Lee Halfacre.
In the great Southern tradition of Faulkner, Styron, and Cormac McCarthy, William Gay wields a prose as evocative and lush as the haunted and humid world it depicts. Provinces of Night is a tale redolent of violence and redemption-a whiskey-scented, knife-scarred novel whose indelible finale is not an ending nearly so much as it is an apotheosis.
In 1952, E.F. Bloodworth returns home after 20 years of roaming to find a wife who has withered and faded and three grown angry sons. Only Fleming, the old man's grandson, treats him with the respect his age commands, and sees past all the hatred to realize the way it can poison a man's soul. It is ultimately the love of Raven Lee that gives Fleming the courage to reject his family's curse. Unabridged.
In this much-awaited second novel, the author of "The Long Home" tells a sweeping tale of 1950s backwoods Tennessee, earning his comparisons to the South's greatest writers, from Cormac McCarthy to Larry Brown.
About the Author
William Gays fiction has appeared in Harpers, The Atlantic Monthly and other magazines. He has won the William Peden Award and the James Michener Memorial Prize. He lives in Hohenwald, Tennessee.