Paris Trout

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Overview

In this novel of social drama, a casual murder in the small Georgia town of Cotton Point just after World War II and the resulting court case cleave open the ugly divisions of race and class. The man accused of shooting a black girl, a storekeeper named Paris Trout, has no great feeling of guilt, nor fear that the system will fail to work his way. Trout becomes an embarrassment to the polite white society that prefers to hold itself high above such primitive prejudice. But the trial does not allow any hiding from...

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Paris Trout

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Overview

In this novel of social drama, a casual murder in the small Georgia town of Cotton Point just after World War II and the resulting court case cleave open the ugly divisions of race and class. The man accused of shooting a black girl, a storekeeper named Paris Trout, has no great feeling of guilt, nor fear that the system will fail to work his way. Trout becomes an embarrassment to the polite white society that prefers to hold itself high above such primitive prejudice. But the trial does not allow any hiding from the stark reality of social and racial tensions.

Winner of the 1988 National Book Award

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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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781559943642
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/1/1991
  • Format: Cassette
  • Edition description: Abridged

Meet the Author

Pete Dexter

Pete Dexter is the author of the National Book Award-winning novel Paris Trout and five other novels: God's Pocket, Deadwood, Brotherly Love, The Paperboy, 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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(3)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 23, 2012

    Not only is the writing extrodinary, but the characters are enga

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 23, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A fascinating novel about one man's morals

    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). <BR/><BR/>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. <BR/><BR/>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. <BR/><BR/>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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 1999

    Fantastic

    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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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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