Answers to Lucky: A Novelby Howard Owen
On Valentine's Day, 1946, Tommy Sweatt, a North Carolina man with a fifth-grade education and a teeth-grinding desire to amount to something, becomes the father of twin sons. He names them Thomas Edison Sweatt and Jack Dempsey Sweatt, and he drives them, from the cradle on, to be the best and the brightest. For a time they both are. When Jack, nicknamed "Lucky,"… See more details below
On Valentine's Day, 1946, Tommy Sweatt, a North Carolina man with a fifth-grade education and a teeth-grinding desire to amount to something, becomes the father of twin sons. He names them Thomas Edison Sweatt and Jack Dempsey Sweatt, and he drives them, from the cradle on, to be the best and the brightest. For a time they both are. When Jack, nicknamed "Lucky," contracts polio in the fall of 1954, he becomes figuratively invisible to his father. Tom Ed and Lucky's relationship is weakened by their father's obvious preference for the former, and as soon as he is able, Lucky disassociates himself from his family. It is now 1992: Tom Ed is the good ol' boy Republican candidate for governor of North Carolina in a heated race and Lucky returns with a mind to reconnect with his estranged family. Infidelity, deception, pride, and a rich man's secret wrath conspire to turn the election - and the fortunes of the Sweatt family - in directions no one could have foreseen.
Owen (Littlejohn, 1992; Fat Lightning, 1994) tells of middle- aged North Carolina twinsone running for governorwho are trying to work out the persistent influence of a father's obsession. Tommy Sweatt grew up in river-rat country, hardscrabble mean, then married well-off Genie, who stood by him even when, after the birth of twin boys (christened Jack Dempsey and Tom Edison Sweatt), her mother tried to buy her son-in-law into a divorce. It was then that Tommy made a vow: He would raise Jack and Tom Ed to be the best, "to make everyone wish they were Sweatts." So he drilled the two hard, and theyclose, united, hounded by their fatherexcelled. But at eight, Jack, nicknamed "Lucky," contracted polio, and Tommy withdrew his love to concentrate on Tom Ed. Lucky then became just another debility that Tom Ed had to overcomelike being poor or hitting a curve. The isolated Lucky achieved and then floundered, erupted in hatred of Tom Ed and the townuntil his happy marriage, family and new life in Virginia. Now, though, he is summoned by Tommy to drive Tom Ed in his campaign: to towns, "pig pickin's," tobacco farms, colleges. The public likes Tom Edand, an artist at political oratory, he keeps his private self hidden: except in an unwise love affair, or in tipping his hand to Lucky. The men touch their old intimacy, and in a close race it looks like Tom Ed is edging ahead. But no one can foresee the tragicomic end to a lifelong dream.
With poignancy, loamy humor, and home truths about the kind of politics where "People don't want Integrity and Commitment. People want the room to light up."
- HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.32(w) x 8.01(h) x 0.55(d)
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