He wants to get away from it all. Despite a satisfying career as chief curator of a museum devoted to the vanished American past, he finds he himself wants to vanish. So with the help of a book on the life and culture of a vanished tribe of Indians known as Bluff-dwellers, he takes up residence in the wilderness of the Ozark mountains, with only a dog for company and only an atlatl—a primitive spear thrower—to provide him with his supper. His few amusements are the playing of tunes on a hair-comb-and-tissue and writing what he intends to be an indictment of modern civilization in his journals. He makes the acquaintance of a young moonshiner who keeps him supplied abundantly with corn liquor. But after six years of this life he realizes that what he is trying to get away from is himself.
About the Author
Although he was born and raised in Little Rock, Donald Harington spent nearly all of his early summers in the Ozark mountain hamlet of Drakes Creek, his mother’s hometown, where his grandparents operated the general store and post office. There, before he lost his hearing to meningitis at the age of twelve, he listened carefully to the vanishing Ozark folk language and the old tales told by storytellers. His academic career is in art and art history and he has taught art history at a variety of colleges, including his alma mater, the University of Arkansas. His first novel was published by Random House in 1965, and since then he has published twelve other novels, most of them set in the Ozark hamlet of his own creation, Stay More, based loosely upon Drakes Creek. He has also written books about artists. He won the Robert Penn Warren Award in 2003, the Porter Prize in 1987, the Heasley Prize at Lyon College in 1998, was inducted into the Arkansas Writers’ Hall of Fame in 1999, and that same year won the Arkansas Fiction Award of the Arkansas Library Association. He has been called “an undiscovered continent” (Fred Chappell) and “America’s Greatest Unknown Novelist” (Entertainment Weekly).