The Night Train: A Novel

The Night Train: A Novel

3.2 5
by Clyde Edgerton, T. Ryder Smith
     
 

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In 1963, at the age of 17, Dwayne Hallston discovers James Brown and wants to perform just like him. His band, the Amazing Rumblers, studies and rehearses Brown's Live at the Apollo album in the storage room of his father's shop in their small North Carolina town. Meanwhile, Dwayne's forbidden black friend Larry—aspiring to play piano like Thelonius

Overview

In 1963, at the age of 17, Dwayne Hallston discovers James Brown and wants to perform just like him. His band, the Amazing Rumblers, studies and rehearses Brown's Live at the Apollo album in the storage room of his father's shop in their small North Carolina town. Meanwhile, Dwayne's forbidden black friend Larry—aspiring to play piano like Thelonius Monk—apprentices to a jazz musician called the Bleeder. His mother hopes music will allow him to escape the South.

A dancing chicken and a mutual passion for music help Dwayne and Larry as they try to achieve their dreams and maintain their friendship, even while their world says both are impossible. In THE NIGHT TRAIN, Edgerton's trademark humor reminds us of our divided national history and the way music has helped bring us together.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This short novel takes place during the turbulent early 1960s in rural North Carolina. Two teenage boys—one black, one white—develop a tentative relationship based on their devotion to jazz and blues. The author sets the stage with care, and the subsequent events are somehow both surprising and inevitable. Edgerton brings a community into focus for this brief snapshot of a turning point for two young men and a way of life. T. Ryder Smith narrates conversationally with a resonant tenor voice. His pleasant, slow Southern pacing fits the story. However, he is less successful with the dialog when his voice rises in pitch, giving most of the characters an undeserved whine. Recommended with reservations for literary audio collections. ["Recommended for all fans of literary fiction," read the review of the Little, Brown hc, LJ 5/15/11.—Ed.]—Juleigh Muirhead Clark, Colonial Williamsburg Fdn. Lib., VA
Ron Rash
"Like all of Clyde Edgerton's work, The Night Train has plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, but what I love most about this novel is its hard-earned hopefulness that if music can change, perhaps hearts can as well."
Glenn Taylor
"Clyde Edgerton has an ear for the good stuff, and he has put music on the page for us to read."
From the Publisher
PRAISE FOR THE NIGHT TRAIN"

Like all of Clyde Edgerton's work, The Night Train has plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, but what I love most about this novel is its hard-earned hopefulness that if music can change, perhaps hearts can as well."—Ron Rash, author of Serena"

Clyde Edgerton has an ear for the good stuff, and he has put music on the page for us to read."—Glenn Taylor, author of The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart"

I don't know how Clyde Edgerton does what he does, how he makes me both happy and sad at the same time, but I'm glad he's doing it....Edgerton is funny and wise as ever and, somehow, keeps getting better."—Tom Franklin, author of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter"

How good it feels to throw back one's head and howl with a great comic novel. The 'burial tuck' alone should make The Bible Salesman a classic."—David Sedaris"

I read Clyde Edgerton's new book with much delight and envy. He is at his subtle and clever best in The Night Train. Every page rings with the music of these characters' voices, stories, and songs. The novel tackles 1963 with complete abandon. As always, Edgerton's message is not there until you discover you agree with it. A beautiful novel."—Percival Everett, author of I Am Not Sidney Poitier"

The Night Train is classic Edgerton, with crackling wit and lines that make you laugh out loud—but also classic is the great, generous heart at its center that leaves the reader filled with hope and compassion."—Jill McCorkle, author of Going Away Shoes"

Two music-mad boys live in divided communities, poignantly characterized by the burdens of their respective pasts....What happens between them is the work of a generous, restrained writer whose skill and craft allow small scenes to tell a larger, more profound story."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Percival Everett
"I read Clyde Edgerton's new book with much delight and envy. He is at his subtle and clever best in The Night Train. Every page rings with the music of these characters' voices, stories, and songs. The novel tackles 1963 with complete abandon. As always, Edgerton's message is not there until you discover you agree with it. A beautiful novel."
author of Going Away Shoes Jill McCorkle
"The Night Train is classic Edgerton, with crackling wit and lines that make you laugh out loud--but also classic is the great, generous heart at its center that leaves the reader filled with hope and compassion."
Tom Franklin
"I don't know how Clyde Edgerton does what he does, how he makes me both happy and sad at the same time, but I'm glad he's doing it....Edgerton is funny and wise as ever and, somehow, keeps getting better."
David Sedaris
"How good it feels to throw back one's head and howl with a great comic novel. The 'burial tuck' alone should make The Bible Salesman a classic."
PEOPLE on Lunch at the Piccadilly
"A vivid and affecting portrait of the way many of us struggle -- and, when possible, take comfort -- in the real world."
SAN DIEGO TRIBUNE on In Memory of Junior
"An American treasure...Edgerton's literary line goes back straight as an arrow to the likes of Sherwood Anderson and Mark Twain."
THE LOS ANGELES TIMES on The Floatplane Notebooks
"Whimsical, utterly original, ultimately brilliant novel of small-town North Carolina and Vietnam."
THE WASHINGTON POST on Raney
"Splendid...what James Thurber might have written had he lived in North Carolina."
Jill McCorkle
"The Night Train is classic Edgerton, with crackling wit and lines that make you laugh out loud--but also classic is the great, generous heart at its center that leaves the reader filled with hope and compassion."
Brad Hooper
"The delightfulness of the opening scene sets the stage for this novel's key elements....Edgerton frames his sensitive new novel around the unlikely and disapproved-of friendship between Larry, the boy the Bleeder is teaching to play, and Dwayne, a white boy who fronts a group called the Amazing Ramblers and is determined to break out of town on a talent ticket. It is the wealth of well-understood characters that carries the reader through this engaging novel's easily consumed pages."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781449858742
Publisher:
Recorded Books, LLC
Publication date:
07/22/2011

What People are saying about this

David Sedaris
How good it feels to throw back one's head and howl with a great comic novel. The 'burial tuck' alone should make The Bible Salesman a classic.

Meet the Author

Clyde Edgerton is the author of nine previous novels. He teaches creative writing at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where he lives with his wife, Kristina, and their children.

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The Night Train 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
sandiek More than 1 year ago
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.
Icecream18 More than 1 year ago
This is a very intriguing and well-written novel. Set in the 1960's, race is a hot issue. Dwayne and Larry are two unlikely friends-Larry if African-American while Dwayne is white. They both love music, this is really what brings them together. The secondary characters are just as interesting and fun to meet in most cases. Larry's mother, for instance, has high hopes for her son; she wants him to use music to make his way north and to a better life. Dwayne has a band called the Amazing Rumblers, Larry likes to play jazz; the band tries to get on the Bobby Reese show during the novel, the reader will be rooting for them. The ending is perfect for this novel. The reader will love how all of the events pan out; this book was a fast-read and very enjoyable. This book is recommended to young adult/adult readers.
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REDBIRD32 More than 1 year ago
I HAVE ALL OF CLYDE EDGERTON'S BOOKS AND COULDN'T WAIT TO GET THE NIGHT TRAIN. NOW, I WISH I HAD MY MONEY BACK. BEEN TRYING AND TRYING TO READ THE BOOK AND GET IT OVER WITH. GOTTEN TO PAGE 97 AND JUST DON'T THINK I WILL EVEN TRY TO READ THE REST.