Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyThe unfortunately named John Girlie is a former college-football star who gives up a promising professional career to hang around his small Louisiana hometown, look after his mother and become involved with a woman considerably older than himself who is in perpetual mourning for her dead baby; he is also the only friend of an agonized young man who is the town's star gravedigger. Girlie's brother Sam goes off to college and changes his name (and who can blame him?). Girlie has a tainted past: his grandfather, a crooked politician, killed himself, and one day his father simply left and was never seen again. In the choices he makes, Girlie seems determined not to run away from anything, but in the end he too is forced to flee. These are the bare bones of this mournful first novel by a young Southern writer who has already made something of a name as a sportswriter, and taken by themselves they make it sound utterly lugubrious. There are redeeming virtues, however. Bradley has created some powerful scenes, particularly those between Girlie and his almost demented mother; his love scenes are strongly sensual; his evocation of the town of Old Field in all seasons is haunting; and he is skillful in abruptly shifting moods within scenes to avoid monotony. The problems with the book are essentially those of youth: an overwhelming and unearned weltschmertz, a slightly self-conscious style (nearly all the chapters end with a rhetorical flourish) and a liking for melodramatic gestures. But there's no denying that Bradley is a writer of power and promise. (April)
Library Journal - Library JournalAfter a successful football career at LSU, John Girlie gives up his shot at the pros and returns home to Old Field and the peculiar characters who are his family and friends. Unlike his younger brother, Sam, who escapes home, John remains trapped in a near-incestuous relationship with their unstable mother. Only after he finds love does he eventually win his own freedom, but the price paid and his reactions to it leave the reader questioning his sincerity, strength, and maturity. This first novel unfortunately adds to the lore that the small-town South is primarily peopled by drunken, crooked politicians, foul-mouthed rednecks, and sexually frustrated neurotics. Not recommended. Judith A. Gifford, Salve Regina Coll. Lib., Newport, R.I.
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Tupelo Nights based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
I read this book many years ago. Coming from the same town as the writer made it even more interesting.