Paris Trout by Pete Dexter | Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Paris Trout

Paris Trout

4.6 8
by Pete Dexter
     
 

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Pete Dexter’s National Book Award–winning tour de force tells the mesmerizing story of a shocking crime that shatters lives and exposes the hypocrisies of a small Southern town.
 
The time and place: Cotton Point, Georgia, just after World War II. The event: the murder of a fourteen-year-old black girl by a respected white citizen

Overview

Pete Dexter’s National Book Award–winning tour de force tells the mesmerizing story of a shocking crime that shatters lives and exposes the hypocrisies of a small Southern town.
 
The time and place: Cotton Point, Georgia, just after World War II. The event: the murder of a fourteen-year-old black girl by a respected white citizen named Paris Trout, who feels he’s done absolutely nothing wrong. As a trial looms, the crime eats away at the social fabric of Cotton Point, through its facade of manners and civility. Trout’s indifference haunts his defense lawyer; his festering paranoia warps his timid, quiet wife; and Trout himself moves closer to madness as he becomes obsessed with his cause—and his vendettas.
 
Praise for Paris Trout
 
“A masterpiece, complex and breathtaking . . . [Pete] Dexter portrays his characters with marvelous sharpness.”—Los Angeles Times
 
“A psychological spellbinder that will take your breath away and probably interfere with your sleep.”—The Washington Post Book World
 
“Dexter’s brilliant understanding of the Deep South has allowed him to capture much of its essence—its bitter class distinctions, its violence, its strangeness—with a fidelity of detail and an ear for speech that I have rarely encountered since Flannery O’Connor.”—William Styron
 
“Dexter’s powerfully emotional novel doesn’t have any brakes. Hang on, because you won’t be able to stop until the finish.”—Chicago Tribune

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
An expertly crafted and bleakly fascinating tale of social conflict and madness in the deep South, this novel centers on the eponymous Paris Trout, owner of a general store and other property in Cotton Point, Ga., during the years just after World War II. A cunning, violent man, with deep roots in the community, Trout has become an economic predator of the town's poor blacks by running a loan service for them out of the safe in his store's back room. The tensions between Trout and the blacks reaches a critical point when Trout, along with a strong-arm goon, murders an 11-year-old black girl and badly injures a black woman while collecting a debt. Into the vortex of this storm are drawn a number of other characters, highlighting the racial and social divisions of Cotton Point: lawyer and gentleman Harry Seagraves, who is repelled by the case; Paris's wife Hannah, brutalized by her husband and in powerful psychological bondage to him; and Carl Bonner, a young, idealistic lawyer who seesaws between his past in the town and his recently acquired sense of being an outsider in its circumscribed society. Trout's murder trial forces Cotton Point to face some dark truths, while setting in motion a chain of events that lead to a crescendo of violence. Dexter (Deadwood, God's Pocket) is a deft and economical storyteller and a cruel but observant chronicler of deep South customs and characters, with something of a Faulknerian feeling for the bullying violence that can lay at the heart of an inbred small town. (June)
Richard Eder
"A masterpiece, complex investigating." -- The Los Angeles Times
From the Publisher
“A masterpiece, complex and breathtaking . . . [Pete] Dexter portrays his characters with marvelous sharpness.”—Los Angeles Times
 
“A psychological spellbinder that will take your breath away and probably interfere with your sleep.”—The Washington Post Book World
 
“Dexter’s brilliant understanding of the Deep South has allowed him to capture much of its essence—its bitter class distinctions, its violence, its strangeness—with a fidelity of detail and an ear for speech that I have rarely encountered since Flannery O’Connor.”—William Styron
 
“Dexter’s powerfully emotional novel doesn’t have any brakes. Hang on, because you won’t be able to stop until the finish.”—Chicago Tribune

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780006545477
Publisher:
Flamingo
Publication date:
03/28/1993

What People are saying about this

Willie Morris
"An eloquent, powerful book by a superbly accomplished writer....I could not put it down. One of the best novels to come out of the American South in a long time."

Meet the Author

Pete Dexter is the author of the National Book Award–winning novel Paris Trout as well as Spooner, Paper Trails, God’s Pocket, Deadwood, Brotherly Love, and Train. He has been a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News and the Sacramento Bee, and has contributed to many magazines, including Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Playboy. His screenplays include Rush and Mulholland Falls. Dexter was born in Michigan and raised in Georgia, Illinois, and eastern South Dakota. He lives on an island off the coast of Washington.

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Paris Trout 4.6 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 8 reviews.
tink2 More than 1 year ago
Not only is the writing extrodinary, but the characters are engaging, complex, and real. One of the finest novels I've ever read, it is haunting, memorable and fulfills my most important requirement for a 5-star rating: it equally affects the head and the heart of the reader.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Contemplated a long time before buying this book. What an outstanding novel, which displays the racism of the 40's in the south. (and sadly still exists) One of the best books I've this year. Even though this is fiction, it show the ignorance of white people, regarding the intolerance of black people, and it makes me ashamed of my own race. Yes, I'm white. Highly recommend as there are lessons to be learned here.
nprfan1 More than 1 year ago
Paris Trout is one of the most unique characters I've come across in quite some time. He appears to have his own sense of right and wrong, which are - to put it mildly - quite separate and apart from that experienced by the rest of the citizenry of Cotton Point, GA (not to mention the majority of the people in the country).

It is this unusual sense of morality (I'm not sure it can be called perverted, offbeat, or any other similar term) that leads to his shooting of a young African-American girl. And it is that circumstance, and the resulting trial, that causes the gradual emotional disintegration of not only Paris Trout, but of many of the other main characters of Pete Dexter's unbelievably good tale.

Trout's wife, Hanna, could probably be considered a battered wife. I'm not entirely sure - Trout does strike her, and the psychological abuse is certainly there, but Hanna has enough gumption to fight back (emotionally speaking), and to throw Trout out of his own house and begin divorce proceedings against him. Perhaps if this story had taken place several years later, Hanna would simply be a doormat - a Hedda Nussbaum clone. But given the ultimate resolution of this story we'll never know that for certain.

Without trying to give that resolution away, I wish that Dexter would write a sequel of sorts. I would like to see Hanna five, or even ten years later and see what kind of a person she has become. There are far too many Paris Trouts in the world, and it would be a comfort to know that their control over their victims is not absolute.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a truly memorable book. Dexter's story is a truly haunting tale of Southern injustice. The character development and the plot make the reader wish the book could go on and on. This book was very hard to put down!
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