End of California [NOOK Book]

Overview

From critically acclaimed author Steve Yarbrough comes this riveting, beautifully nuanced, new novel of life in a small town.

After twenty-five years away and an illicit scandal in California, Dr. Pete Barrington is returning home to Loring, Mississippi, where football rules and religious piety mingles uncomfortably with darker human impulses. Though Barrington sets up a small practice and finds solace in an old friend, his wife, Angela, and ...
See more details below
End of California

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$9.99
BN.com price

Overview

From critically acclaimed author Steve Yarbrough comes this riveting, beautifully nuanced, new novel of life in a small town.

After twenty-five years away and an illicit scandal in California, Dr. Pete Barrington is returning home to Loring, Mississippi, where football rules and religious piety mingles uncomfortably with darker human impulses. Though Barrington sets up a small practice and finds solace in an old friend, his wife, Angela, and daughter, Toni, are having trouble adjusting. Also, Barrington’s homecoming has awakened difficult memories for Alan DePoyster, a former high school classmate and now a pillar of the community, who blames Barrington for tearing apart his family. When DePoyster’s son and Barrington’s daughter begin a fledgling relationship, the children are forced to pay for their parents’ sins, and things take a disastrous, even shocking turn.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Patrick Anderson
Yarbrough's story blends elements we have seen in other novels -- the small-town South, the football hero grown up, passions that reach back to high school, a little incest and a lot of extramarital sex, racial tensions, hypocrisy among the pious -- but it all works because Yarbrough knows his characters so well, cares for them so deeply and writes of them in prose that is graceful, precise and packed with surprises.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Yarbrough returns to Loring, Miss. (setting of his acclaimed Prisoners of War and Visible Spirits), to examine the intersecting lives of two contemporary family men in this sensitive but powerful smalltown portrait of sex, religion and other human passions. Following an explosive sex scandal, successful physician Pete Barrington flees California, with wife Angela and their teenage daughter in tow, for the Southern town he left 25 years before. There he encounters Alan Depoyster, another native son, now managing a Piggly Wiggly and caring for a wife and teenager of his own. Alan, a devout Christian, holds a grudge from their high school days, when Alan's mother carried on an affair with Pete. Shortly thereafter, Alan's dad deserted them, and Pete escaped Loring on a Fresno State football scholarship. As circumstances bring the Barringtons and Depoysters closer, and evidence of Pete and Angela's continuing sexual indiscretions come to light, rage and jealousy lead Alan to shocking measures, setting up the book's suspenseful, shattering second half. Yarbrough gives each character in his slow-burning drama the complex emotional scars of broken marriage and, more importantly, the space and voice with which to explore them. (June) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
When Peter Barrington gets pulled over for speeding on a stretch of long, lonely road between Fresno, CA, and Loring, MI, it is sinkingly clear that dark circumstances lord over his one-way trek back to his hometown. He's accompanied by wife Angela and daughter Toni, and there is a big chill surrounding the entire family. Who knows why? Maybe the reason is something mundane-people growing apart, the need for a change of scenery-but maybe not. It soon becomes clear that Pete has run away, and by the looks of what he has run to-a small town full of people who know his past indiscretions and one man in particular who holds a passionate grudge against him-one wonders what on earth he left in Fresno. Yarbrough's (Prisoners of War) captivating novel of a prodigal son's return is written with wit, charm, and an obvious affection for the many characters that populate Loring, a place that has the same positives and negatives of any small town: people know you, and people know you. The problem is that past and present wrongs can lead to unspeakable tragedy. Pleasing and unexpectedly shocking, this work is simply very good. Just when Yarbrough has you easy and comfortable with his ambling prose, a style fit for the homey pace of Southern Small Town U.S.A., he pulls the rug. Read this book, and definitely order for your library.-Jyna Scheeren, Troy P.L., NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Yarbrough returns to Loring, Miss. Loring, circa 1902, was the setting for the author's Visible Spirits (2001); and 1943 for his Prisoners of War (2004). Now he chronicles the present-day residents of Loring, most notably Pete Barrington, former high-school football hero and a physician, who has returned with his wife and family to the town of his youth after sexual misconduct with a patient ended his California practice. Pete's physique and magnetism amount to a troubled destiny. As a teenager, he was seduced by Maggie Depoyster, the mother of a shy, devout schoolmate. As an adult, Pete ruefully reflects that "he felt as if . . . some force, like gravity, drew others toward him. Once they entered his orbit, their navigational systems went haywire." Now, Maggie's son Alan, a deacon at his church and manager of a grocery store, still blames Pete for destroying his family, a resentment fed by Pete's popularity and superiority in sports. This grudge has lasting, tragic consequences for both families, particularly because Alan's son Mason, a kindly boy, is the first to approach Pete's daughter Toni at her new school, and the two have become friends. The dialogue here sometimes reflects the novelist's voice too obviously. It's hard to imagine anyone saying, as Pete does, "The rarity of the circus combined with the smallness of the town to make its presence here a thing of wonder." But if a few phrases are overly purple, much rings true, particularly the lifelike, easy, but inexorable way events unfold. The momentum that builds, the increasing power the characters have to do each other good or ill, holds the reader spellbound. In the character of Alan, there is a particularly moving portrait ofa person of faith, which makes the one shocking crime he commits all the more resonant. Yarbrough fulfills the novelist's chief task, by giving weight and import to human actions.
From the Publisher
"Impressive.... Graceful, precise and packed with surprises.” —The Washington Post"Compelling.... Yarbrough has a keen ear and a sharp eye for changes in the cultural landscape.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review"The End of California unreels fast, with high drama. Its juicy characters.... hook immediately and don't let go.” —The Oregonian "The End of California unreels fast, with high drama. Its juicy characters, limned in a succulent mystery plot, hook immediately and don't let go. Yarbrough succinctly depicts life in contemporary small-town America . . . a life peppered with cell phones and text-messaging that simultaneously features characters who've never left the county, much less the state in a post-Jim Crow era . . . A worthy companion to Larry McMurtry's 1966 classic." —Annie Dawid, The Oregonian"Compelling . . . Yarbrough has a keen ear for the nuances of Southern speech and a fine command of details, [as well as] a sharp eye for changes in the cultural landscape, [where] King Cotton has been displaced by catfish farming [and] googling has joined gossiping as a way to root out secrets." —Roy Hoffman, Los Angeles Times Book Review"[The End of California] cements Yarbrough's reputation as one of the brightest contemporary Southern writers wince Pat Conroy . . . An evocative portrait of a place and poeple [who are] every bit as complex as Faulkner's Snopses and Compsons, rendered in a clear, contemporary narrative." —Ron Francell, Atlanta Journal-Constitution"Surprising, even magical . . . Yarbrough weaves the inner-workings of a small Southern town into a symphony of voices and scenes." —Regis Behe, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review"I love his past work, but The End of California definitely blows them all away [with] a tale of real people whose actions catch the reader in whirlwinds of passion, deceit, rage and death . . . It may be The End of California, but it's the continuation of great prose from Yarbrough." —JC Patterson, Jackson Clarion-Ledger"Impressive . . . Yarbrough knows his characters so well, cares for them so deeply and writes of them in prose that is graceful, precise and packed with surprises . . . [The End of California] limits itself to life as we know it—which of course is no limitation at all.” —Patrick Anderson, The Washington Post"Yarbrough's story blends elements we have seen in other novels--the small-town South, the football hero grown up, passions that reach back to high school, a little incest and a lot of extramarital sex, racial tensions, hypocrisy amount the pious--but it all works because Yarbrough knows his characters so well, cares for them so deeply and writes of them in prose that is graceful, precise and packed with surprises." —Patrick Anderson, The Washington Post"The End of California is artfully crafted, sensitive and observant, with characters who stick with you. But what makes it really shine is the undercurrent of thoughtfulness about who we are and what we're becoming, [as] Loring becomes a kind of microcosm for the cultural divisions and moral ambiguities of contemporary America." —Charles Matthews, San Jose Mercury News"Yarbrough's captivating novel of a prodigal son's return is written with wit, charm, and an obvious affection for the many characters that populate Loring, a place that has the same positives and negatives of any small town: people know you, and people know you . . . Pleasing and unexpectedly shocking, this work is simply very good . . . Read this book." —Jyna Scheeren, Library Journal"Yarbrough fulfills the novelist's chief task, by giving weight and import to human actions, [and] the momentum that builds, the increasing power the characters have to do each other good or ill, holds the reader spellbound." —Kirkus"Yarbrough returns to Loring, Miss., to examine the intersecting lives of two contemporary family men in this sensitive but powerful smalltown portrait of sex, religion and other human passions . . . [He] gives each character in this slow-burning drama the complex emotional scars of broken marriage and, more importantly, the space and voice with which to explore them." —Publishers Weekly"A tale of tested loyalties: between friends, spouses, children, and even the community as a whole [in which] small town ambience, with its conventions and crowdedness, its secrets and suspicions, is evoked with careful detail." —Brad Hooper, Booklist"Anybody who thinks the Mississippi Delta has given up all its secrets needs to read Steve Yarbrough, especially this new one. It's scary and wonderful, true to the bone and his best yet." —Beverly Lowry"For a writer, a small town is a narrow well, but an exceedingly deep one. Nobody understands this better than Steve Yarbrough does. Many of us have been wondering what became of Loring, Mississippi —Yarbrough's Yoknapatawpha. The End of California is a profoundly satisfying answer to that question. —Jennifer Haigh
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307386601
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/10/2007
  • Series: Vintage Contemporaries
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 505,269
  • File size: 315 KB

Meet the Author

Born in the Delta town of Indianola, Mississippi, Steve Yarbrough now lives with his wife and their two daughters in Fresno, California, where he teaches at the university. His recent fiction has also been published in England, Holland, and Poland.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

A SOURCE YOU CAN TRUST


Under the circumstances, he told himself, speeding made sense. He’d driven down through the San Joaquin Valley at eighty and eighty-five, crossed the Mojave with the Volvo’s air conditioner blasting and the needle on the dash nudging ninety. Through Kingman, Flagstaff and Winslow, Gallup and Albuquerque, Amarillo, the vast nothingness of western Oklahoma, clean across Arkansas and over the Greenville bridge, and he’d seen more state police officers, deputy sheriffs and plain old small-town cops than he could have calculated, even if calculation came naturally to him, which recent events had proven it did not. None of them stopped him. It was as if they understood that while anybody who lived in California had good reason for wanting to distance himself from its borders, his reasons were better than most.

They hadn’t been in Mississippi for more than three or four minutes before a gray patrol car pulled out of the lot at a bait shop and attached itself to their rear bumper. He glanced at Angela: stoic and silent, the picture of stillness, her eyes hidden behind sunglasses. Had she taken them off a single time since they left Fresno? If so, he didn’t recall it. He’d noticed her wearing them in the motel room last night.

In the backseat, Toni said, “I think you’d better pull over.”

“I think you’re right, hon,” he said, and stopped on the shoulder next to a cotton field where a young black guy was spraying herbi- cide from a Hi-Boy. Leaving the engine running and the air on, he climbed out and shut the door. Wet heat enveloped him in its familiar embrace.

The state trooper, a woman, was somewhere between thirty-five and forty. Trim and tan, with sandy brown hair and delicate hands that looked too small to wield the weapon riding her right hip. She tipped her own sunglasses up, and he saw a smooth lump below her left eye, the skin perceptibly discolored.

Her voice was husky but not abrupt or unpleasant. “You’re a long way from home.”

“Yes ma’am. I guess you could say that.”

“Could I see your license?”

He pulled his wallet out, withdrew the license and handed it to her.

“Fresno. That’s cotton country too, isn’t it?”

“Yes ma’am.”

She glanced inside the station wagon, nodded at Angela and Toni, then looked through the back glass into the cargo compartment, which in addition to luggage contained two computers, a couple printers, a bunch of medical books and the records from his former practice. “Moving?” she said.

“Actually, we are.”

“Mind if I ask where?”

“Loring.”

“Really?”

“Yes ma’am. The fact is, I grew up there.”

She examined the license again. “Barrington,” she said. “There are some folks by that name in Greenville.”

“They’re not kin to me, but I played football against one of them in high school.”

“That’d probably be Carl, I’m guessing.”

“Yes ma’am.”

“He’s tending bar now at the Holiday Inn. I used to stop in there from time to time with my husband. Carl likes to pour big ones.”

“He was a pretty big guy, if I recall right. Not a bad ballplayer, either.”

Something had disturbed her. Frowning, she looked through the window again—first at Angela, then at Toni, then at the stuff piled up in the back. She fingered the license once more. “Mr. Barrington,” she said, “you were driving way too fast.”

“Yes ma’am, I know that.”

“Tell me this was an isolated incident.”

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I can’t do that. The truth is, I probably slowed down some when I crossed the bridge. Just out of relief at finally getting where I was going. I’ve been driving like a bat out of hell for three days.”

Her nose wrinkled as if she’d just inhaled an unwholesome odor. “Is something wrong?” she asked. “Why would anybody in this situation say anything like that?”

He’d ask himself the same question later. The best answer he could come up with was that a bunch of factors had converged to render him incapable of deceit. It also had something to do with her open, pleasant manner, the feel of that damp air on his skin, the sight of the black guy on the Hi-Boy, engaged with a fate that could have been his own. “I don’t know,” he said. “I’ve said and done a lot I can’t explain.”

Moving decisively, she led him some distance away—he was following her before he knew it. Halfway between the Volvo and the cruiser, she turned to face him, lifted the sunglasses off altogether and stuck them in her pocket. “You’re driving a nice car,” she said. “You’ve got what looks like your family in there. Is that who they are?”

He nodded.

“How old’s the girl?”

“Fifteen.”

“You mind if I ask what your profession is?”

“I’m a doctor.”

“What kind?”

The words were easy to pronounce but hard to say. “Family practice.”

She’d begun to sweat. Rivulets ran down the bridge of her nose and trickled over the unsightly lump beneath her eye. Her blouse was damp too. “Dr. Barrington,” she said, “I’m going to ask you something. Do I need to run this license? Or should I just wish you all a pleasant journey?”

“Running that license won’t tell you anything I haven’t. My last ticket was about sixteen years ago, the car’s registered in my name and there’s no warrant out for my arrest.”

She looked at the license one last time and then at him, as if to confirm that his face and the one on the card belonged to the same man. If only it were as simple as that.

“I’ll just give you a warning,” she said, holding out his license.

Before accepting it he touched her wrist. “That spot beneath your eye?” he said. “You need to have it looked at.”



9



She gazes at the rearview mirror and sees the officer standing there. A nice-looking woman, just an inch short of pretty, probably friendly and smart too, and certain of her authority. Her heart misfires—not once but twice—robbing her of breath. She reaches for her purse, her hand closing around the plastic bottle of Toprol, in case she needs it.

As if the patrolwoman understands she’s being observed, she reapplies her sunglasses, strides back to the cruiser and slides inside, slams the door, glances over her shoulder and wheels onto the highway, a plume of dust rising as she swings into a U-turn and heads back toward the bait shop.

After sticking his wallet into his pocket, Pete opens the door and climbs in beside her. The car shifts ever so slightly. On the trip he’s added weight, the result of fast food and sodas, and she can see faint evidence of a belly. Soon enough that will be gone, once he finds a gym and starts working out.

“Well,” he says, “times sure have changed. Used to be that anybody driving through here with out-of-state plates was already guilty. She didn’t even write me a ticket.”

“Did you really think she would?”

He takes every question seriously now, never sidestepping them or providing a facile answer. Tapping his finger against the steering wheel, he thinks for a moment and says, “I never assumed she wouldn’t.”

From the Hardcover edition.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    deep, tense yet sensitive character study

    Twenty-five years ago Pete Barrington left Loring, Mississippi on a football scholarship to Fresno State vowing to never return to the small southern town. He successfully becomes a physician, marries a pretty woman and they have a teenage daughter as they live the good life in California. That is until sex scandals force him and his family to start anew in his hometown. --- Alan Depoyster, manager of the local Piggly Wiggly, has always remained in Loring. The devout Christian is married and has a teenage child. He loathes Pete because back in high school, his mother and Pete had an affair that led to his father deserting the family. While Pete escaped Loring on a scholarship, Alan stayed home trapped by the broken family mess. . Apparently Pete and his spouse failed to learn anything from their 'eating out' in California as they continues with sexual predatory recklessness in Loring this outrages Alan, who decides he must rid his hometown of these ten Commandment violators. --- The key to this deep, tense yet sensitive character study is the cast, especially the rival males. Readers will understand what motivates Pete and Alan and to a lesser but critical degree their wives. The action comes to a boil slowly as Steve Yarbrough cleverly simmers the tension between families with a passionate heated mixing of obsessive sex and zealous religion. --- Harriet Klausner

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)