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Fiction. Two young men, one bi-racial and the other white, meet in an overnight lockup and begin their shared twenty-year downward spiral into alcoholism and homelessness. LeRoy and Harmon work together, drink together, brawl together, and as Harmon suffers from his final illness, they both bed Edna, a wealthy widow who, out of pity, curiosity, and loneliness, takes them into her vacation home by the river. Through episodes rendered from shifting, multiple points of view, a series of flashbacks, and LeRoy's adventure stories—this very smart but uneducated man's attempts at fantasy writing—we learn of the people and tragedies that shaped their lives and those whose lives unravel along with theirs at the seams of race, class, and religion, and where no one ever quite tells the truth.
|Publisher:||Twisted Road Publications|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.20(d)|
About the Author
James Carpenter began writing fiction after an eclectic career in education, business, and information technology, including a position as an affiliated faculty member at The Wharton School. His short fiction has appeared in the Chicago Tribune's Printers Row, Fiction International, and North Dakota Quarterly. Three of his stories were nominated for the Pushcart Prize and he is a recipient of Descant's Frank O'Connor Prize.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Other readers have invoked William Faulkner and Cormac McCarthy when describing No Place to Pray, but I want to avoid any suggestion that Carpenter is derivative in either style or content. It’s not. It’s a remarkable blend of darkness and lyricism—a compassionate but unromanticized chronicle of two men’s intersecting lives in the underclass of the American South. Their story is marked by unremitting hardship and degradation—complicated by the extreme challenges of dire poverty, racism, sexism and alcoholism—and Carpenter’s language is often as violent, even brutal, as their lives. But Harmon and LeRoy manage in spite of their circumstances to capture moments of dignity and selflessness, even tenderness and nobility. Faulkner famously asserted his belief that “man will not merely endure: he will prevail.” That belief finds expression in No Place to Pray, where not merely to survive, but to survive with spirit intact, is indeed to prevail.