Welcome to Higbyby Mark Dunn
Following the national success of 'Ella Minnow Pea', this second novel from Mark Dunn brings the same charm and love of good language to a small town in the South. 'Welcome to Higby' follows the hilarious goings-on in a small town in northern Mississippi over Labor Day weekend. The weaving of narratives brings us Stewie Kipp and Marci Luck, whose love for one another has grown stale as Stewie’s faith becomes impertinent; Carmen Valentine and Euless Ludlam, whose shared debilitating shyness threatens to derail a relationship that has hardly gotten started; the Reverend Oren Cullen, a widower who struggles to renew ties to his emotionally distant son Clint in the midst of lingering grief and a midlife crisis; Tula Gilmurray, whose love for her brother Hank can’t heal her worry over his fading mind; and Talitha Leigh whose thirst for adventure delivers her into the hands of a vegan cult that ignores her protestations, but tries to calm her with hearty legumes. 'Welcome to Higby' is a Southern-comical tale about simple dreams both realized and thwarted by all the complexities of the human heart.
Paula Friedman The Miami Herald Dunn uses human peculiarity in the service of creating empathy, conjuring an atmosphere of wise affection in the process. The small town of Higby, with its accidents, fortuitous encounters, and zany coincidences, offers life at its most ordinary and its most extraordinary.
Colleen Kelly Warren St. Louis Post-Dispatch Every single one of [Dunn's] characters are just so darn likable, and the author's view of humanity so essentially generous, that the reader is gradually sucked into Higby....Welcome to Higby is good-hearted fun.
Pat MacEnulty, Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL) Dunn's careful imbedding of humor has an organic quality that turns the book into a real page-turner, not so much to find out what happens but to see what surprising gem you'll find on the next page.
USA Today [H]umor and human sentiment quickly hook the reader into taking up residence. A three-day weekend in Higby isn't long enough.
- MacAdam/Cage Publishing, Incorporated
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Meet the Author
About the Author: Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Mark Dunn is the author of five previous novels — including 'Ella Minnow Pea' and 'Ibid: A Life' — and more than thirty full-length plays. He is currently the playwright-in-residence with the New Jersey Repertory Company and the Community Theatre League in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. He lives in Albuquerque, NM.
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This is a great story by Mark Dunn and it told in a creative fashion much like 'ella minnow pea' was. This story is fast paced and chapters are usually no more than 5 pagess a piece. The book is mostly dialogue and at first that was off-putting, but I sooon got used to it and the characters did begin to develop deeper as the story went on. The biblical quotes are great and make complete sense with each chapter. As a non-Christian, I was not offended by these quotes. It is amazing how well the quotes match up to each tale.
The Labor Day weekend of 1993 finds the residents of Higby, Mississippi seeking happiness though everyone looks for this mythos differently. Teenage Clint and his minister father have not recovered from the death of Clint¿s mom nor do they share their feelings of doubt and struggles with struggles with their beliefs. That changes when Clint falls from a water tower luckily into a swimming pool and dad meets the massage parlor owner. Carmen Valentine trips over a crack but does not break her mother¿s back. Instead she badly peeled her face¿s epidermis. She follows up this scrape by plowing into the pickup of Euless, who had stopped to help an Alzheimer's victim. Euless and Marci, the girlfriend of his roommate Stewie, shared intimacy. However, Marci has since found Jesus, but not in Euless¿ bedroom. Euless worries that there is something wrong with him when he feels the hots for Carmen. Meanwhile Stewie and Marci reconcile passionately while alas a cult kidnaps poor Talitha. Labor Day in Hixby is like any other day in a town where bedlam is the norm even for those who try to strictly adhere to the Word. WELCOME TO HIXBY is a tremendously amusing look at the Southern lifestyle through a series of interrelated stories. The book is not an anthology as incidents in one-segment impact events in another. Fans will enjoy the antics of the eccentric while praying this does not happen to me. The use of biblical quotes are not chapter gimmicks but instead add to the overall flow that makes this book feel like a novel whose theme is enjoy life by finding God in your own way. Harriet Klausner
Having thoroughly enjoyed "Ella Minnow Pea", I couldn't wait to get my hands on "Welcome to Higby". Dunn is a true talent; the book lived up to my every expectation. His characters are will-drawn and likeable, and the plot is captivating and entertaining. Dunn brings the reader to his theme of "God equals Love" with gentle subtlety; I especially enjoyed the catharsis (if one can enjoy a catharsis) experienced by Clint near the end of the story. If only we could all find the answer so gracefully! I have recommended "Welcome to Higby" to several people, all of whom agree that it is a wonderful read and a real uplift.