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One of Slate's and Kirkus Review's Best Books of 2013 and The New York Times, National Public Radio, and Indie Bound bestseller: "Lookaway, Lookaway is a wild romp through the South, and therefore the history of our nation, written by an absolute ringmaster of fiction." —Alice Sebold, New York Times bestselling author of The Lovely Bones
Jerene Jarvis Johnston and her husband Duke are exemplars of Charlotte, North Carolina's high society, where old Southern money—and older Southern secrets—meet the new wealth of bankers, boom-era speculators, and carpetbagging social climbers. Steely and implacable, Jerene presides over her family's legacy of paintings at the Mint Museum; Duke, the one-time college golden boy and descendant of a Confederate general, whose promising political career was mysteriously short-circuited, has settled into a comfortable semi-senescence as a Civil War re-enactor. Jerene's brother Gaston is an infamously dissolute bestselling historical novelist who has never managed to begin his long-dreamed-of literary masterpiece, while their sister Dillard is a prisoner of unfortunate life decisions that have made her a near-recluse.
As the four Johnston children wander perpetually toward scandal and mishap. Annie, the smart but matrimonially reckless real estate maven; Bo, a minister at war with his congregation; Joshua, prone to a series of gay misadventures, and Jerilyn, damaged but dutiful to her expected role as debutante and eventual society bride. Jerene must prove tireless in preserving the family's legacy, Duke's fragile honor, and what's left of the dwindling family fortune. She will stop at nothing to keep what she has—but is it too much to ask for one ounce of cooperation from her heedless family?
In Lookaway, Lookaway, Wilton Barnhardt has written a headlong, hilarious narrative of a family coming apart, a society changing beyond recognition, and an unforgettable woman striving to pull it all together.
A Kirkus Reviews Best Fiction Book of 2013
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Lacerating but affectionate, as exuberant as it is shrewd, Lookaway, Lookaway is a Southern novel so sure-footed the only real question for Barnhardt is, What took you so long?...By the end I felt like a starving man at a buffet--sated but still hungry. That's not really a knock. Lookaway, Lookaway is that rare thing: an excellent long novel that's not long enough.--Malcolm Jones, The New York Times Book Review. It is a work that hides its craft but never its beauty, that is ambitious but never pretentious, that does not sacrifice nuance for power or power for nuance. The book's careful, formal composition is invisible as you read, and it's a beautiful read, sad and savagely funny, one place inexplicably contained in the other.--Cathleen Schine, The New York Review of Books A dishier array of secrets animates Lookaway, Lookaway, Wilton Barnhardt's big, enveloping novel about a status-conscious North Carolina family.--Janet Maslin, The New York Times Scathing yet touching, this is a delicious saga of Old South meets New, a story of America lurching toward the future.--People Magazine A delicious romp with a dysfunctional Southern Family.--The Chicago Tribune. Barnhardt's fourth novel is a revelation: witty, savage and bighearted all at once, it is the Southern novel for the 21st century.-- Kirkus (Starred Review) Dixieland was never so dishy nor dysfunctional as in Barnhardt's ribald send-up of the conflagration that ensues when Old South tradition confronts New South tackiness...Barnhardt's satirical scorching of southern culture comes in second only to Sherman's fiery march.--Booklist Review. North Carolina native Barnhardt's frothy, satirical latest (after Show World) is Southern gothic at its most decadent and dysfunctional.--Publishers Weekly. Barnhardt bursts forth with a big book that has everyone bustling.Library Journal An effervescent novel. --VariousAbout the Author:
Wilton Barnhardt is the author of Lookaway, Lookaway, a New York Times bestseller. His previous novels are Gospel, Show World, and Emma Who Saved My Life. A native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, he teaches fiction in the master of fine arts in creative writing program at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, where he lives.
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