Smoke

Smoke

5.0 1
by John Ed Bradley
     
 

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When fledgling novelist Pace Burnette heads home to Smoke, a quiet hamlet in Louisiana, he finds that the mom-and-pop businesses that gave the place its character and charm have been put out of operation by an enormous Monster Mart on the outskirts of town. His best friend, Jay Carnihan, is struggling to keep his family's general store from going under and blames

Overview

When fledgling novelist Pace Burnette heads home to Smoke, a quiet hamlet in Louisiana, he finds that the mom-and-pop businesses that gave the place its character and charm have been put out of operation by an enormous Monster Mart on the outskirts of town. His best friend, Jay Carnihan, is struggling to keep his family's general store from going under and blames Rayford Holly, the founder of Monster Mart, for his economic woes. When Jay carries out a harebrained scheme to kidnap Holly and make him apologize for the damage he's done, Smoke and its residents are changed forever. High comedy, high jinx, unrequited love, and small town eccentrics confronting big business come together in this engaging tale. Smoke, quite simply, is one of the best novels of `94. The Herald (South Carolina) Book Review

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Bradley's evocation of the South acquires new depth and charm in his fourth novel, after Love & Obits . Here, childhood friends rediscover the magic of their small-town roots. In the late '80s, aspiring young author Pace Burnette, the sale of his first novel under his belt, returns from up north to his home to the bayou town of Smoke, La., with the vague hope of putting Smoke's ailing economy back on its feet while he collects accolades and churns out bestsellers. Pace's rebellious best friend, Jay Carnihan, heir to the town's ailing general store and lunch counter, has found a scapegoat for Smoke's business woes in Winston Rayford Holly, a charismatic Arkansas billionaire who has opened one of his nationwide Monster Marts on the outskirts of town. Holly's high-volume stores symbolize for Jay the destruction of small-town America. When Jay gets the chance to confront Holly and to enact his fantasies of retribution, he and Pace undergo an adventure that changes them forever. Bradley fills narrator Burnette's eponymous town with colorful, likable characters--his rendering of the crusty Holly is the novel's triumph. Occasional cliches and moments of treacle do not spoil this otherwise delightful homespun narrative. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Hometown Family Goods, a combination lunchroom-general store in Smoke, Louisiana, has seen better days. Jay Carnihan, the fourth generation of his family to run the store, blames its decline, as well as that of the entire downtown business district, on the local Monster Mart, one of a chain of gigantic department stores. Carnihan wants to kidnap Monster Mart's founder, who is America's richest man, and make him apologize for what he's done. Meanwhile, his best buddy, Pace Burnette (come home to await the publication of his first novel), has his own problems: he's fallen in love with an old schoolmate who now works at the local brothel. Is this a Southern Gothic tale full of vengeance, decadence, and the decline of old families? No, it's a hilarious farce about friendship, loyalty, love, and the dependence of people on one another. Bradley ( Tupelo Nights, LJ 5/1/88 and Love & Obits, LJ 1/92) knows his small towns and their people and foibles, and he knows also how to chuckle at the human condition.--Charles Michaud, Turner Free Lib., Randolph, Mass.
Joe Collins
Bradley's quirky tale of small-town life would probably have been better if he had taken the basic plot and melted it down into a short story, maybe 5,000 words that would fit nicely in "Esquire". Instead, we get a long, repetitious, but occasionally amusing story of a fourth-generation small-town general-store proprietor named Carnihan and his novelist buddy, who conspire to kidnap the billionaire owner of a chain of Wal-Mart-like superstores, ostensibly to get him to apologize for destroying Main Street, U.S.A., by driving all the other local merchants out of business. In Bradley's very nice world, people are polite to one another, Carnihan and the billionaire (patterned after the late Sam Walton) become friends, and the local whores are all angelic. It's actually pleasant for a change to read something where no one is a jerk, but naturally this grows old rather quickly, especially because Bradley can't resist big gooey dollops of sentimentality.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780805024210
Publisher:
Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
04/01/1994
Edition description:
1st ed
Pages:
400
Product dimensions:
6.27(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.33(d)

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Smoke 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago