Welcome to Higby

Welcome to Higby

4.6 5
by Mark Dunn
     
 

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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… See more details below

Overview

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 resolder 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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Writing in the spirit of his clever debut novel, Ella Minnow Pea, in which an island's language-loving inhabitants must adapt to a shrinking alphabet, Dunn delivers another witty and intricate book. This time he uses biblical quotations to guide his narrative, which tracks the residents of Higby, Miss., during Labor Day weekend of 1993, as they search for happiness, love and salvation. The tightly interwoven story lines feature a veritable swarm of oddballs, including Stewie Kipp, a born-again Christian whose fiancee, Marci Luck, resents his attempts at piety; Talitha Leigh, a floozy who is kidnapped by an extremist vegan cult and renamed "Blithe"; and dim-witted Euless Ludlam, who finds himself on the receiving end of a huge inheritance. The Bible quotes aren't just gimmicky transitional devices, since the novel closely follows themes of redemption and salvation, albeit in a screwball manner: as one character, Carmen Valentine, notes, "My guardian angel likes to help me stretch my shopping dollar." The collision of celestial concepts and quirky mannerisms makes the book both laugh-out-loud funny and sweetly touching. At its core is the belief that "God equals love," though the characters demonstrate this in some rather strange ways. Dunn, a playwright, has a wonderful ear for dialogue; his rich and enticing prose, elegant structuring and wonderful attention to the smallest of details make this novel a delight. (Oct. 1) Forecast: Dunn's sophomore effort may have even more popular appeal than Ella Minnow Pea, which was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers title, a Top Ten Book Sense Pick and the recipient of a Borders Original Voices Award. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The feckless frolics of a Mississippi town fill the pages of Dunn's clever, comical second outing, which romps on the heels of his acclaimed Ella Minnow Pea (2001). The school of hard knocks is in session in Higby, but none of the knocks is ever quite a knockout. When teenager Clint, the minister's son still missing his mamma a couple of years after her death, falls off the town's rickety old water-tower when the catwalk gives way, he falls into a swimming pool and emerges with only bruises. His dad, Oren, doubts himself and his faith after Clint's mishap, but a chance encounter with the owner of Higby's massage parlor gives him something else to think about. Meanwhile, on her way to a party at Tie's house, a man she's admired from afar in church, Carmen Valentine trips over a crack in the sidewalk and scrapes the skin off half her face. Deciding to skip the party, she massively rear-ends Euless's pickup, which he's stopped along the road to help the Alzheimer's-befuddled brother of his mother's best friend. Carmen decides she might like Euless better than Tie, who has by now already begun to make out with his housemate Stewie's fiancé, who is fed up with Stewie having recently dedicated his life to Christ. As for Euless, he's ashamed of his carnal feelings for Carmen and runs away when she takes him home. Stewie and his fiancé, on the other hand, rediscover their passion for each other in a most unlikely place. And then there's the good-times sister of the ex-con's girlfriend who's kidnapped by a local religious cult. Characters largely conventional, slightly soulful, and just a bit off their nut are the tried-and-true formula of any wacky southern farce, but success herestems also from the delightful way so many lives are seamlessly made utterly interdependent.
From the Publisher
Leif Enger author of Peace Like a River Mark Dunn is a wry eyewitness along the lines of James Wilcox or Larry McMurtry; Welcome to Higby is as farcical as Modern Baptists, as winning as Texasville. Impish and forgiving, here is a writer who observes the commandment: Thou shalt love thy characters. And they pay him back in buckets.

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.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781931561174
Publisher:
MacAdam/Cage Publishing, Incorporated
Publication date:
10/01/2002
Pages:
339
Product dimensions:
6.51(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.25(d)

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