by Padgett Powell
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Edisto by Padgett Powell

Simons Everson Manigault ('You say it 'Simmons.' I'm a rare one-m Simons") lives with his mother, an eccentric professor (known as the Duchess), on an isolated and undeveloped strip of South Carolina coast. Convinced that her son can be a writer of genius, the Duchess has immersed Simons in the literary classics since birth ("Like some kids swat mobiles, I was to thumb pages") and has given him free rein to gather material in such spots as the Baby Grand, a local black nightclub. ("It was an assignment. I'm supposed to write. I'm supposed get good at it.")

Although posessed of a vocabulary and sophistication beyond his years, Simons feels the normal adolescent bewilderment about the behavior of his parents. His conventionl father, the Progenitor, has recently left the family in a dispute over Simon's upbringing and has moved to nearby Hilton Head, where he would like to see his son raised among the orthodox surroundings of condominiums, country clubs, and private schools. At the book's center is Taurus, and enigmatic father-surrogate who tutors the boy in the art of watching the world without presumption.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780374146511
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 04/01/1984
Pages: 192
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.79(d)

About the Author

Padgett Powell is the author of six novels, including The Interrogative Mood and Edisto, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, and three collections of stories. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker , Harper’s , and The Paris Review , as well as in The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Sports Writing . He has received a Whiting Award, the Rome Fellowship in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. Powell lives in Gainesville, Florida.

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Edisto 1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Having spent a lot of time on Edisto Island, I was looking forward to reading this novel. However, I found it disappointing and lacking on many levels. First off, I cannot believe the author is an "award winning author" who also teaches writing at UF. It seems to me that he could have used a better editor because while I was reading it, I found much of the writing to be clumsy, difficult to follow, and not in any way enjoyable to read. Several times I thought about not finishing it, but somehow I soldiered through to the end. I think with proper editing, this could have been a novel that was more enjoyable to read... however, I still have issues with the fact that it does not seem the author was really familiar with Edisto and did not seem to do his research before writing the novel. As I read this, I did not get the sense that the author was really intimately familiar with Edisto. If he actually was personally familiar with Edisto Beach/Edisto Island, he did a terrible job conveying that. I felt as if the novel was written by someone who had never been there. (Of course, it is fine for an author to have never traveled to the place where their novel is set as long as they do the research and at least sound informed about the area!) A couple of examples of things that did not make sense: the mother drove Simon all the way to Savannah to go to an Episcopal church because supposedly there weren't any closer to Edisto that did "high church". This is silly because (1) There are lots of Episcopal churches in Charleston SC (40-48 miles away) that were established in the late 1600's & early 1700's when Charleston was settled by the British. The first churches they established were off-shoots of the Anglican Church of England, meaning they practice "High Church" (or "Catholic Light" depending on your viewpoint.) In the 1960's if one wanted to go to an Episcopal church with the full liturgy, priests in proper garb with full communion and all the fancy-pants stuff, downtown Charleston would offer this and be much closer than Savannah GA. (Downtown Charleston - 40-50 miles from Edisto beach, Savannah = between 115-130 miles from Edisto beach via Hwy 17 since I-95 was not fully completed at that time). I would expect an author who is attempting to write literary fiction to do research and at least be historically accurate. (I hold authors of "literary fiction" to a higher standard than I expect from authors of "popular fiction".) Also same thing with regards to Simon's school. It does not make sense that Simon was sent to public schools in Bluffton SC, which is 85-90 miles away from Edisto. It would have made more sense to have him going to school in downtown Charleston, which again is only 40-50 miles away. And again, these inconsistencies were not my only issue with the novel. Overall, it seemed very amateurish and did not flow well at all. Many times I had to re-read passages to figure out what the author was trying to say. And this was not due to dialect or slang - when I was growing up I spent a lot of time in the SC low-country and was exposed to all sorts of dialect & slang including Gullah (aka Geechie). Again, I just can't believe this was an award winning novel. The story could have been told much better than it was.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well... I finally know what happened when they put those mythical 1,000 monkeys to write a book. They wrote this one. This book makes no sense at all. Put it down on page 20. Amazingly bad.