Now Is The Hour

( 1 )

Overview

Rigby John Klusener is hitchhiking to San Francisco. The year is 1967, the town is Pocatello, Idaho. Fresh out of high school, Rigby John is leaving behind his bohemian ex-girlfriend, his prayerful mother, his distant father, and the hay dust of his harsh farm town Catholic upbringing. As he stands by the side of the road desperately waiting for that one ride out, he reflects on the events that brought him there: the discovery of love, friendship, literature, and all the small joys that set him free. At once a ...

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Overview

Rigby John Klusener is hitchhiking to San Francisco. The year is 1967, the town is Pocatello, Idaho. Fresh out of high school, Rigby John is leaving behind his bohemian ex-girlfriend, his prayerful mother, his distant father, and the hay dust of his harsh farm town Catholic upbringing. As he stands by the side of the road desperately waiting for that one ride out, he reflects on the events that brought him there: the discovery of love, friendship, literature, and all the small joys that set him free. At once a tale of sexual awakening, racial enlightenment, and personal epiphany, Now Is the Hour is the disarming and sweetly winning story of one unforgettable teenager who dares to hope for a different life.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Spanbauer follows his well-received The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon with a risky assay into the traditional bildungsroman, with this straightforward but luminous tale of a country boy's self-liberation. In the summer of 1967, 17-year-old Rigby John Klusener is hitchhiking from his hometown of Pocatello, Idaho, to San Francisco to escape a life of religious, racial and sexual bigotry. He leaves behind a pregnant girlfriend, a hopelessly mystified mother, an embittered father and a sister trapped in a brutal marriage. As he waits for a ride out on the deserted highway, he winds the story back to his childhood, then virtually walks the reader through a life marked by hard farm work, Catholic guilt and the liberating passion of deep friendships formed with the most scandalously disreputable people of the community. From his first school-yard fight to first experiences with sex (of various sorts), cigarettes, alcohol, pot, jealousy and love, Rigby John's first person is at once reliable and highly ironic; we may know better, but he truly doesn't, and the distance is delicious. And his genuine astonishment at other people (great names: Allen "Puke" Price; Grandma Queep) keeps his telling edgy and warm, without allowing it to be sentimental. (May 15) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
This novel opens in Idaho, with 17-year-old Rigby John Klusener hitchhiking along a desolate highway, hoping to relocate to his self-perceived Shangri-La of San Francisco. Why such a young man would feel a need to flee his outwardly ordinary rural life is carefully detailed in the novel's next 400-plus pages, in which Spanbauer (The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon) explains what it was like for a socially awkward gay teenager to grow up in a strict Catholic household, especially one with a seemingly unending string of bad fortune. Despite a brutal father, a radically repressed mother, and physically abusive classmates, Rigby John eventually finds friends, and even love, by looking in unconventional places. When he ventures out of his carefully cultivated Catholic/farm-life existence, he finds companionship in the form of two free-spirited Mexican workers, a hippy chick who attends the public high school, and a middle-aged gay alcoholic Indian who possesses an alluring mysticism. Though certain images become a bit repetitive, Spanbauer's novel is worthy of its length, especially considering the absorbing denouement. An intelligent family drama that should appeal to a variety of age groups; recommended for most fiction collections.-Kevin Greczek, Ewing, NJ Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A simmering Midwestern household boils over when a gay teenager discovers sex, drugs and rock-'n'-roll circa 1967. On the family farm in Pocatello, Idaho, Rigby John Klusener obeys his repressed, work-weary parents like a good Catholic boy should, but it doesn't seem to do much good. His dour father hardly acknowledges him. And his mother alternates between enjoying Rigby's high spirits-he plays dress up with his older sister-and assuring him he's going to hell. At school, life's equally grim: Joe Scardino regularly beats him up, and the word "queer" is sneered in his direction long before he knows what it means. Once puberty hits, bringing chronic tumescence, life gets even harder: His mother spies him in a private moment of "self abuse" and transports Rigby at 80 miles an hour down the highway to confession. His father, a raging bigot, threatens Rigby with his belt if he befriends anyone outside their church. Into this bleakness arrives Billie Cody, a large-breasted sophomore with a gimlet eye for false piety. They smoke pot, listen to the car radio, kiss a little, but mostly they talk about literature, hypocrisy and the future. When Billie finds sexual fulfillment elsewhere and winds up pregnant, everyone assumes Rigby is the father. Prom night brings everything to flash point: Rigby's mother stalks her defiant son with a broom handle; Billie's drunken father wants Rigby's hide; and Scardino needs to settle an old score with his former whipping boy. Only George Serano, a notorious local full of his Indian tribe's spiritual wisdom and a brazen passion for other men, can help Rigby find his personal path out of town. Although some of his bullying characters-the father and Scardinoespecially-are mere personifications of evil, Spanbauer (The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon, 1991, etc.) writes this fairly traditional coming-of-age story with a raw energy that makes it compelling. A nostalgic paean to young "warriors of love."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618872640
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 6/12/2007
  • Edition description: None
  • Pages: 476
  • Sales rank: 681,894
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Meet the Author

TOM SPANBAUER is the author of the beloved classic The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon, winner of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award for best fiction, and a 'dazzlingly accomplished' novel, according to the Washington Post. His earlier novels are Faraway Places and In the City of Shy Hunters. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 4, 2011

    Captivating, tender and sharp. A wonderful read!

    Tom Spanbauer writes from the heart. I was enthralled with the story, the characters, the feelings, the descriptions.the way he pulls you in close. I have now purchased all of Tom's books and am looking forward to immersing myself in his fiction that is so real and wonderful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2008

    One of the best books I read last year

    The writing in this book is like nothing you've read before. It's poetic and powerful at the same time. The characters are very real as are the emotions they feel. This book reminded me of what it felt like to be a young teenager in love.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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