Lookaway, Lookaway: A Novel

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Lookaway, Lookaway: A Novel

by Wilton Barnhardt

St. Martin's Press | August 20, 2013 | Hardcover

Lookaway, Lookaway: A Novel is rated 4.2857 out of 5 by 7.

One of Slate’s and Kirkus Review’s Best Books of 2013 and The New York Times, National Public Radio, and Indie Bound bestseller: "Lookaway, Lookaway is a wild romp through the South, and therefore the history of our nation, written by an absolute ringmaster of fiction." —Alice Sebold, New York Times bestselling author of The Lovely Bones

Jerene Jarvis Johnston and her husband Duke are exemplars of Charlotte, North Carolina’s high society, where old Southern money—and older Southern secrets—meet the new wealth of bankers, boom-era speculators, and carpetbagging social climbers. Steely and implacable, Jerene presides over her family’s legacy of paintings at the Mint Museum; Duke, the one-time college golden boy and descendant of a Confederate general, whose promising political career was mysteriously short-circuited, has settled into a comfortable semi-senescence as a Civil War re-enactor.  Jerene’s brother Gaston is an infamously dissolute bestselling historical novelist who has never managed to begin his long-dreamed-of literary masterpiece, while their sister Dillard is a prisoner of unfortunate life decisions that have made her a near-recluse.

As the four Johnston children wander perpetually toward scandal and mishap. Annie, the smart but matrimonially reckless real estate maven; Bo, a minister at war with his congregation; Joshua, prone to a series of gay misadventures, and Jerilyn, damaged but dutiful to her expected role as debutante and eventual society bride. Jerene must prove tireless in preserving the family''s legacy, Duke’s fragile honor, and what''s left of the dwindling family fortune. She will stop at nothing to keep what she has—but is it too much to ask for one ounce of cooperation from her heedless family?

In Lookaway, Lookaway, Wilton Barnhardt has written a headlong, hilarious narrative of a family coming apart, a society changing beyond recognition, and an unforgettable woman striving to pull it all together.

A Kirkus Reviews Best Fiction Book of 2013

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 368 pages, 9.45 × 6.43 × 1.34 in

Published: August 20, 2013

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1250020832

ISBN - 13: 9781250020833

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 1 out of 5 by from Not What I Expected Very vulgar opening not what I was expecting from a southern story--gave it as a gift and now regretting it very much
Date published: 2014-02-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great book This is one of the few books I have read this year that I enjoyed every second of. I would confidently recommend this book to anyone.
Date published: 2012-09-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Buy this book! This is a great read. The story is set just after WW2 in rural Mississippi. It takes you into the lives of a black family whose son has returned from the war at the same time the white family's brother returns. I don't want to give the story away....once you start this book you won't be able to put it down.
Date published: 2010-08-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow - 5 Stars what a debut novel ! WINNER OF THE BELLWETHER PRIZE FOR FICTION Mudbound by Hillary Jordan (Book Review) This debut novel Mudbound has rightly won many literary awards and praises from literary critics. It is published by Windmill and its ISBN is 0099524686. The book begins with a grave scene and each character tells in their own voice the story of how they arrived at the pitiless burial of their father. The farm Mudbound is situated in Delta in the US in 1946 at the end of World War 11 and deals with family dynamics and racism. Two heroes Jamie and Ronsel return from war with their own scars but face their own battles on homeland. The two brothers in arms form a friendship based on mutual respect for fighting for their country. But in a small and bigoted rural land the black man Ronsel is delegated to a boy and is segregated from the whites. The two ignore orders to stop mixing and there are terrible consequences. Both families’ lives are changed forever. “Sometimes it is necessary to do wrong, sometimes it is the only way to make things right.”There are sad and disturbing accounts of violence and racism but it needs to be said and said loudly to learn from past mistakes, we all are equal. It is a sad recall of a time past of racialism and war and how it can have devastating and lasting harm on people. It is a sad but beautiful portrayal of many characters points of view white and black, male and female. Each in their own voice tell their own tale. I highly recommend this tale. Reviewed by Annette Dunlea author of Always and Forever and The Honey Trap. Book Trailer : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-S3AFkuOrNk
Date published: 2009-06-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Great Book! Mudbound, by Hillary Jordon, is a book that stands out among others. It is her first novel and one that has placed this author on my watch list for her future works. The story revolves around Laura and her husband Henry and his brother Jamie. Set in Mississippi during the 1940s, the boundaries that existed between black and white residents is explored through a story that captures the reader from the very first page. Each chapter is told from the perspective of the various main characters allowing a greater depth to the story. Once I was a few chapters into this book, I couldn’t put it down.
Date published: 2008-11-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliant A story of 1940s Mississippi. A tale of two families; one black, the other white. Henry McAllen moves from the city with his wife, two young daughters and his cantankerous, racist father to land he has just bought. On that land are four sharecroppers but the story focuses on one family, that of Hap Jackson his wife and three young children. Henry's younger brother is off fighting in WWII as is Hap's oldest son who are both around the same age. When the war ends both of these young men eventually return war weary and world-wise to the South of the Forties, a viciously, racist time and place. Each chapter is narrated by one of the six main characters and the whole story unfolds slowly through the eyes of each one. The contrasting eyes of Hap, an enterprising black man trying to get his family their own land, and Henry, who considers himself forward thinking where 'coloreds' are concerned yet who knows the limits. The contrasting eyes of Florence, black sharecropper wife who is midwife to the local black folks and Laura, a city bred white woman who becomes beaten down by the farm land. And finally through the contrasting eyes of Jamie, returning white air force hero who is so mentally disturbed by the war he has become an alcoholic and cares not what anyone thinks of him outside the family, and Ronsell the returning hero from the first fighting black platoon, directly under Patton's orders, and a deeply loving and caring man but in his returning home of Mississippi he is just a n*gger. I really hate to gush in my reviews but all I want to say about this book is "Wow! Wow! Wow!". Beautiful, brilliant, sad, and disheartening yet ending on a bittersweet slight glimpse of hope. I felt for each and every one of the six main characters. It takes a lot of skill to write a book through the eyes of 6 different people but Jordan pulls it off with flowing grace. Beautiful and heartrending. Read this book!
Date published: 2008-10-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Stunning Debut Mudbound by Hillary Jordan is a stunning debut novel. I was absolutely blown away by this book. The cover art captured me first. The stark contrast of the ramshackle house against the bountiful cotton field intrigued me. I wanted to know the story of that house and it's inhabitants. Laura has resigned herself to life as a spinster when she meets Henry McAllan in 1939. She eventually accepts his proposal of marriage and they settle down to urban life in Memphis, Tennessee. Family upheaval and Henry's desire to own a farm lands them, their two children and Henry's sly, cruel father in rural Mississippi on a cotton farm. There is no electricity, no running water and when the river rises, they are cut off from the town. There are tenant farmers on the land as well, black and white. Racial tensions and long held prejudices run deep in the Mississippi Delta. Mudbound opens with Henry and his brother Jamie burying their father on the farm. Jordan's descriptions paint tangible pictures. " The soil was so wet from all the rain it was digging into raw meat". Laura's description of the farm also paints a vivid picture. "When it rained, as it often did, the yard turned into a thick gumbo, with the house floating in it like a soggy cracker" From that opening scene, we relive how Henry and Jamie came to be burying their father. Each character has a voice in the telling of the story. Henry, Jamie, Laura, Florence and Hap - the black tenant farmers on the McAllan farm and Ronsel - their son. Ronsel and Jamie have both just returned home from the war. Both men have been changed by their experiences and form an unlikely friendship. In the Jim Crow south, this is unacceptable and drives the story to it's inevitable conclusion. I could not put this book down. The characters,their lives, emotions and upheaval are so richly painted. The historical facts of the deep south in the late 1940's are woven into this stunning debut novel. Jordan's writing captured and held me until the last page. I cannot wait to read her next novel. Mudbound evoked strong emotions in this reader. The past is still happening. Jordan won the 2006 Bellwether Prize awarded to literature of social change. This founder of this prize is Barbara Kingsolver.
Date published: 2008-03-31

– More About This Product –

Lookaway, Lookaway: A Novel

by Wilton Barnhardt

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 368 pages, 9.45 × 6.43 × 1.34 in

Published: August 20, 2013

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1250020832

ISBN - 13: 9781250020833

Read from the Book

Jerilyn   There were only two white dresses that ever would matter, her mother said. The first of these was the Debutante Dress that Jerilyn would wear when she would take her father’s arm and march across the stage in Raleigh, into the single spotlight, radiant, along with all the other debs in North Carolina. As of last week, the suspense concerning that dress had been extinguished, when Jerilyn and her pals from Mecklenburg Country Day, Bethany and Mallory, besieged uptown formal shops to hunt down their quarry, capturing and releasing, debating, embracing, denouncing many white gowns before claiming the perfectly flattering one as their own. Jerilyn suffered an hour of agony as she prayed that her more assertive friends would not fall in love with the beautiful number on the mannequin near the cashier’s station as she had. The crinkled taffeta, treated with some French-termed process, so smooth, like petting a puppy, had an internal corset, mermaid tail, subtle beading that sparkled opalescent around the slimming bodice, all blooming out upon layer upon layer of tulle, soft and dreamy. Wearing it would defy gravity; to walk into the light would be like floating in on a tulle cloud, something right out of an antebellum cotillion, which would please her father. He did his best to remain in that world before 1860: Duke Johnston, descendant of Civil War General Joseph E. Johnston. Even though the debut was a year off, she had an impulse to take the gown with
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From the Publisher

One of Slate’s and Kirkus Review’s Best Books of 2013 and The New York Times, National Public Radio, and Indie Bound bestseller: "Lookaway, Lookaway is a wild romp through the South, and therefore the history of our nation, written by an absolute ringmaster of fiction." —Alice Sebold, New York Times bestselling author of The Lovely Bones

Jerene Jarvis Johnston and her husband Duke are exemplars of Charlotte, North Carolina’s high society, where old Southern money—and older Southern secrets—meet the new wealth of bankers, boom-era speculators, and carpetbagging social climbers. Steely and implacable, Jerene presides over her family’s legacy of paintings at the Mint Museum; Duke, the one-time college golden boy and descendant of a Confederate general, whose promising political career was mysteriously short-circuited, has settled into a comfortable semi-senescence as a Civil War re-enactor.  Jerene’s brother Gaston is an infamously dissolute bestselling historical novelist who has never managed to begin his long-dreamed-of literary masterpiece, while their sister Dillard is a prisoner of unfortunate life decisions that have made her a near-recluse.

As the four Johnston children wander perpetually toward scandal and mishap. Annie, the smart but matrimonially reckless real estate maven; Bo, a minister at war with his congregation; Joshua, prone to a series of gay misadventures, and Jerilyn, damaged but dutiful to her expected role as debutante and eventual society bride. Jerene must prove tireless in preserving the family''s legacy, Duke’s fragile honor, and what''s left of the dwindling family fortune. She will stop at nothing to keep what she has—but is it too much to ask for one ounce of cooperation from her heedless family?

In Lookaway, Lookaway, Wilton Barnhardt has written a headlong, hilarious narrative of a family coming apart, a society changing beyond recognition, and an unforgettable woman striving to pull it all together.

A Kirkus Reviews Best Fiction Book of 2013

About the Author

Wilton Barnhardt is the author of Lookaway, Lookaway, a New York Times bestseller. His previous novels are Gospel, Show World, and Emma Who Saved My Life. A native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, he teaches fiction in the master of fine arts in creative writing program at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, where he lives.

Editorial Reviews

“Lacerating but affectionate, as exuberant as it is shrewd, “Lookaway, Lookaway” is a Southern novel so sure-footed the only real question for Barnhardt is, “What took you so long?”…By the end I felt like a starving man at a buffet—sated but still hungry. That’s not really a knock. “Lookaway, Lookaway” is that rare thing: an excellent long novel that’s not long enough.” — Malcolm Jones, The New York Times Book Review "It is a work that hides its craft but never its beauty, that is ambitious but never pretentious, that does not sacrifice nuance for power or power for nuance. The book’s careful, formal composition is invisible as you read, and it’s a beautiful read, sad and savagely funny, one place inexplicably contained in the other." — Cathleen Schine, The New York Review of Books “A dishier array of secrets animates Lookaway, Lookaway , Wilton Barnhardt’s big, enveloping novel about a status-conscious North Carolina family.” — Janet Maslin, The New York Times "Scathing yet touching, this is a delicious saga of Old South meets New, a story of America lurching toward the future."  —People Magazine "A delicious romp with a dysfunctional Southern Family." — The Chicago Tribune "Barnhardt’s fourth novel is a revelation: witty, savage and bighearted all at once, it is  the  Southern novel for the 21st century." — Kirku
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