When Shakespeare Williams returns to his family’s farm in eastern Colorado to bury his dead cat, he finds his widowed and senile father Emmett living in squalor. He has no money, the land is fallow, and a local banker has cheated his father out of the majority of the farm equipment and his beloved Cessna.
With no job and no prospects, Shakespeare suddenly finds himself caretaker to both his dad and the farm, and drawn into an unlikely clique of old high school classmates: Vaughn Atkins, a paraplegic confined to his mother’s basement, Carissa McPhail, an overweight bank teller who pitches for the local softball team, and longtime bully D.J. Beckman, who now deals drugs throughout small-town Dorsey. Facing the loss of the farm, Shakespeare hatches a half-serious plot with his father and his fellow gang of misfits to rob the very bank that has stolen their future.
Mixing pathos and humor in equal measure, Gregory Hill’s East of Denver is an unflinching novel of rural America, a poignant, darkly funny tale about a father and son finding their way together as their home and livelihood inexorably disappears.
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.88(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.93(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
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"A fine first novel from a writer with a great sense of character."
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I TOTALLY enjoyed this book. This is a sweet, dark, funny tale about a family with nowhere to go but down. 'Shakes' Williams has decided to return home to the farm he grew up on to bury the dead cat he had adopted as a stray. He finds his father Emmett a changed man, the house is a wreck and the dementia that began as a kind of cute forgetfulness a few years ago is in full blown form. Shakes realizes he has to stay and become his fathers full time caregiver. When he discovers that the local banker has cheated his father out of not only his airplane but his farm as well, he hatches a plan to rob the bank that is repossessing the family farm with several old high school friends he has reconnected with.As dark as this story may sound there are wonderful moments of comedy, wit and love. The author uses a simplistic style of writing that I really felt rang true, yes - people really do talk this way. I can't recommend this book highly enough. A true American gem.
Humor and pathos, true to its time and place Many people will find this book relate to them in some way. Who hasn't lived with or known someone with dementia or alzheimer's and seen all sides of this insidious illness? The protagonist and sometimes narrator, Stacey "Shakespeare" Williams a.k.a. "Shakes," is on his way back from Denver to the old family farm and his father. A quirky cast of old high school friends come back into Shakes' life when he arrives too, both helping and hindering. His father is living by himself and as Shakes will find out, no one is checking on him. Though he is remarkably able to fix almost anything and is very precise in engineering, he is likely to ask in the midst of putting together amazing pieces of equipment he invented in the past, "Why are we doing this?" Of course, recent memory is what goes first, the past is the present. The book takes us through the humour and pathos of alzheimer’s...the brilliant flashes of recognition, the sad demise of the person you once knew. But as Gregory Hill demonstrates in this exceptional book, though occasionally crude yet more realistic because of it, he shows that there is still a person there, and we can still learn from him. Although the book is fiction, I feel that the adventure was real. Well, maybe not the airplane but it sure was fun. I identified with this book in so many ways, as I'm sure other readers will, too. Shakes has anosmia and describes it well. This hit a chord as I'm an anosmiac, too (read the book). The ending is reminiscent of old slapstick movies like the Keystone Kops, or the Pink Panther, but satisfying in a way. Hilarious and gut-wrenching, very well-written story. Gregory Hill has taken to heart the old adage of "keep them guessing."
Greg Hill excels in creating a familiar, homey environment with emotionally rich characters. Hill does a great job exposing the fundamental drives of human character and the interactions between others, whilst being able to capture, hold, and amplify your attention. If you're looking for a casual read with a light hearted concept, occasionally humorous, and satisfying read, pick this book up.