In Memory of Junior

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Go by the Baptist Cemetery in Summerlin any Sunday after church and you'll see all kinds of families out there weeding and sweeping the family plots. There's always lots to do - dumping out the potted poinsettias and dusting off the plastic peonies, making sure the kids know everybody dead and how they are kin to everybody living. To most folks, which cemetery, which family plot, which tombstone and what's carved on it are of consequence. And the older you are, the more so. In the Bales-McCord family, two old ...
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In Memory of Junior

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Overview

Go by the Baptist Cemetery in Summerlin any Sunday after church and you'll see all kinds of families out there weeding and sweeping the family plots. There's always lots to do - dumping out the potted poinsettias and dusting off the plastic peonies, making sure the kids know everybody dead and how they are kin to everybody living. To most folks, which cemetery, which family plot, which tombstone and what's carved on it are of consequence. And the older you are, the more so. In the Bales-McCord family, two old people are at the point of contemplating their final resting places - Glenn and Laura Bales. Everybody is wondering which one will go first. A third old person looking death in the eye is Uncle Grove McCord, hell-raising, bootlegging, bush pilot, black sheep brother of Glenn Bales's first wife. Grove left Summerlin years ago and has buried several wives. He's got a good healthy one now out in Arkansas. But he pines for Summerlin where he was raised and is making his own private arrangements to be buried there. "Hell," he says, "I can't be buried beside all my wives." Clyde Edgerton fans won't be surprised that the characters in his funny new novel end up with too many graves and too few tombstones. It all happens within the space of just a couple of weeks and it's told by everybody involved, from Buster Douglas, the Truck Freight Limited driver who delivers Uncle Grove's tombstone to Wilma and Harold Fuller, Visitors-to-the-Sick. Join them as they gather in Summerlin to attend to the business of passing on - and passing down. As Uncle Grove points out, "You're history longer than you are fact."

A heartbreaking, side-splitting new novel of life, death, and family in the South--by the acclaimed author of Raney and Killer Diller. The whole Bales family is buzzing over which of its oldest members will pass on first, what will be passed down to whom, and what will happen when a black-sheep uncle comes home.

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Editorial Reviews

Shelby Hearon
"In Memory of Junior" is a larky, down-home chronicle of deaths foretold and retold. Clyde Edgerton "The Floatplane Notebooks" and "Walking Across Egypt" has spun a sunny, funny anthology, a long way from Spoon River. -- New York Times
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Edgerton ( Killer Diller ) again expertly conducts a chorus of ornery individuals in this prime example of entertaining, down-home Southern fiction. With considerable panache and humor, he assumes the first-person voices of the busybodies, war vets, good old boys and sole misunderstood teen ``hippie'' of Summerlin, N.C. These forthright folks are concerned--more pragmatically than emotionally--with the impending demise of waning, elderly Glenn Bales and his second wife, Laura. Glenn and Laura each have children from previous marriages. If Glenn dies first, his two sons lose their right to the family property and Laura's daughter becomes the legal heir; if Laura is the first to go, vice versa. Naturally, Summerlin's know-it-all residents take sides in the morbid endurance contest and can't resist proffering biased, highly amusing remarks on family loyalty, compromise, morality and death. Some 20 major and minor characters have their say, yet through some miracle of narrative the tale remains consistently uncluttered. Skilled storyteller Edgerton performs an enviable balancing act that demonstrates mastery of dialogue, irony and characterization. Author tour. (Oct.)
Library Journal
The Bales-McCord family of North Carolina are distantly related to the Copeland family of Edgerton's The Floatplane Notebooks ( LJ 10/1/88). Their story is similar, too, with strained relationships and cemetery gatherings. The humor here is wry and more restrained than in Walking Across Egypt ( LJ 3/15/87), the tone more somber. Faison and Tate were deserted by their mother when Tate was just a baby, and father Glenn remarried and produced Faye. Now Faye's mother and Glenn hover near death, and their offspring worry about who will die first and who will inherit the family acreage. Meanwhile, Uncle Grove (brother to Glenn's first wife) is heading home to die, and Faison and his ex-wife are fighting over what goes on her son Junior's gravestone. Complicated? Yes, and often morbid, but Edgerton is the new master of Southern family tales.-- Ann H. Fisher, Radford P.L., Va.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345410290
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/29/1996
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 215
  • Product dimensions: 5.52 (w) x 8.04 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author


Clyde Edgerton is the author of eight novels, five of which have been New York Times Notables. He is a professor of creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and performs with his band, Rank Strangers. Author Web siteā€”www.clydeedgerton.com.
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