Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Night Train by Clyde Edgerton

It's 1963, and things are changing in the South, even in small North Carolina towns.  The Greensboro sit-in is in the news, Dr. Martin Luther King is on his crusade, and everyone is starting to realise that things will be different.

In one small town, Dwayne Hallston and Larry Lime Nolan become friends as each is interested in the new music starting to break through; the music of James Brown and the Apollo Theatre.  Larry Lime wants to be a pianist like his idol, Thelonious Monk, while Dwayne has just started a band with his buddies.  Larry Lime isn't in the band, since he and Dwayne aren't even supposed to be friends.  Larry is African-American while Dwayne is white and their friendship is something new in their town.

Edgerton has captured the feel of rural small towns in this era, when the races were segregrated but depended on each other in ways no one talked about.  It was a time of hope and dread, a subterranean stirring that no one had an ending for, a time of change with all the passions that change always stirs.  This book is recommended for readers interested in knowing what life was life in this place and time, and for those who want to be entertained by a master at his best.

Clyde Edgerton is a North Carolina treasure.  Born in Durham, he has written nine previous novels.  His forte is telling stories; stories that make serious points while being humourous and readable.  He has been a Guggenheim Fellow, five of his novels have been New York Times Notable Books and he is a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers.  Edgerton currently teaches creative writing at UNC-Wilmington. 

1 comment:

emaginette said...

Looks promising.

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