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Louisiana State University Press
I Am One of You Forever: A Novel / Edition 1

I Am One of You Forever: A Novel / Edition 1

by Fred Chappell
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Wonderfully funny and also deeply touching, I Am One of You Forever is the story of a young boy's coming of age. Set in the hills and hollows of western North Carolina in the years around World War II, it tells of ten-year-old Jess and his family — father, mother, grandmother, foster brother, and an odd assortment of other relatives — who usher Jess into the adult world, with all its attendant joys and sorrows, knowledge and mystery.
Jess's father is feisty, restless, and fun-loving. His mother is straitlaced and serious but accepts with grace and good humor the antics of the men of the family, a trait she learned from her own mother. Johnson Gibbs is the orphaned teenager who comes to live with them on their mountain farm. Life on the laurel-covered mountain is isolated and at times difficult, but for Jess it is made rich and remarkable through his relationship with his father and, especially, Johnson Gibbs.
Visiting the farm from time to time is a gallery of eccentric relatives who are surely among the most memorable creations in recent fiction. Uncle Luden is a womanizer who left the mountains years ago for a job in California that "paid actual cash money." Uncle Gurton has a spooky way of appearing and disappearing without ever seeming to enter or exit, but it is his flowing beard, which he has apparently never trimmed and which he keeps tucked inside his overalls, that is of most fascination to Jess.
Uncle Zeno is a storyteller. With the words "That puts me in mind of..." everyone around knows that he is about to launch into another of his endless tales. Uncle Runkin, who always brings his handmade coffin to sleep in whenever he visits, spends his time carving intricate designs into the coffin and trying to find just the right epitaph for his tombstone. Aunt Samantha Barefoot stops by for a brief spell, too. A country singer and cousin to Jess's grandmother, she is a woman of uncensored speech (Jess learns a lot from her) and honest emotions. Chappell tells the story of all of these characters in a series of chapters that range from fantasy and near farce to pathos. As notable for its lyrical descriptions of the rural settings as for its finely honed vernacular dialogue, I Am One of You Forever shows us a world full of wit and wisdom and the sadness at the heart of things. As one would expect from a poet like Fred Chappell, every line offers its own pleasures and satisfactions.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807114100
Publisher: Louisiana State University Press
Publication date: 07/01/1987
Series: Voices of the South Series
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 190,474
Product dimensions: 5.58(w) x 10.34(h) x 0.41(d)
Lexile: 960L (what's this?)

About the Author

A native North Carolinian and former professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Fred Chappell is the author of eight novels, two collections of stories, and numerous volumes of poetry, including the much-praised Spring Garden. Among Chappell's many honors are the Bollingen Prize in Poetry, the Award in Literature from the National Institute of Arts and Letters, and membership in the Fellowship of Southern Writers.

OLD BIOFred Chappell is the author of four previous novels and a collection of short stories. He has also written several volumes of poetry, most recently Backsass (LSU Press). Mr. Chappell, co-recipient of the 1985 Bollingen Prize in Poetry, is professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

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I Am One of You Forever 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
sturlington on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I AM ONE OF YOU FOREVER is a collection of vignettes narrated by Jess, the son of a farmer living in the North Carolina mountains during World War II. The theme for these stories is family; they mostly concern visits by a series of strange aunts and uncles, but they are also about Jess¿ closeness with his immediate family, particularly his father and his adoptive brother. The stories are written in a folkloric style, and many take on the aspect of a fairy tale, as Jess describes the amazing, impossible things he witnesses in the course of his everyday life. While I didn¿t connect to this collection as strongly as I did to its companion volume, FAREWELL, I¿M BOUND TO LEAVE YOU, I always enjoy Fred Chappell¿s poetic voice and his quietly charming style.
Aerodynamics on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
'I Am One of You Forever' is a charming little book. It's brilliance lays subtly obscured by it's quiet, unassuming, rural nature. Unfortunately, it was a bit too obscured for me to fully appreciate. Perhaps a cloud passed over the sun during the two days that I read the novel, and the tiny shimmer that should have emitted from the page was dampened. Had I imagined it? Was it real? In order to answer these questions, I'd have to read it again, and there are so many worthy books waiting patiently in my reading list. Perhaps I will find it more meaningful as an octagenarian.This is a set of stories which are mostly driven by a series of aunts and uncles who impose themselves on the protagonists family as he is growing up. The tone is humble and simple. The action takes place mostly on the property of poor farmers in North Carolina in the forties. One uncle sleeps in a coffin and looks like death. Another seems to be the human embodiment of Pan himself, via California. There is sadness, and a deep, almost undefinable soulfulness to the work. In a way, 'I Am One of You Forever' is a book about humanity. The text of the novel vibrates with humanity.
gpsman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Chappell's protagonist, Jess, the son of a North Carolina farmer living in the mountains during World War II tells the stories of a boy growing up in a rural setting. The stories are populated by a collections of aunts and uncles whose visits read like fables of old. The stories must be read with a light heart because if taken too seriously, the book loses its charm. The work while charming is cast under a pall of subtle sadness. The reader's state of mind at the time of reading will influence how it is received.
MCov on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I am one of you forever by Fred Chappell was a decent book. This novel at times was very comical and every character was described very well. I didn't really like how Uncle Luden was being threatened and how Johnson left for a few pages of the book. All together I did like how the book had most of the family together the whole way through the book.
ireneadler on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is one of my top five books of all time. Poignant and funny, a series of magical uncles visits a rural North Carolina farm -- as told as memoir. Magical and wonderful -- there aren't enough "stars" to rate it highly enough!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BettyJoyce More than 1 year ago
I am a North Carolinian and love to read books by authors from this wonderful state Tom Chappell has written several books that leaned more toward the dark side. I AM ONE OF YOU FOREVER is different. It is a book you will read over and over and not want to give away. I found myself buying more copies of the book rather than to give away the copy I had
Guest More than 1 year ago
Some books you can appreciate, others you can enjoy. When both things happen at the maximum level, you know something special's going on. 'I Am One of You Forever' is a flat-out gem, both as a terrific story-- comical and profound--and as graceful prose as good as it gets. A Southern literature bullseye. Read it out loud, laugh out loud. What an extraordinary book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great book about a man looking back at his life in his rural North Carolina community during World War II and how events in his life shaped who he is. The book is a story of coming of age, as well as the tragedy of loss. Very entertaining to read, it will make you laugh in some instances. A must read.