The Choiring Of The Trees
Arkansas, 1914: A 13-year-old girl is
raped in the backwoods of the Ozarks. On her testimony, a young
mountaineer is convicted and sentenced to the electric chair.
Nail Chism, strangest and most solitary of the Chism clan that
populates of all Donald Harington's acclaimed novels about Stay More,
Arkansas, appears doomed to execution -until his innocence is
championed by the staff artist of the state's leading newspaper, a
woman whose past is even stranger and more solitary than Nail's.
This woman, Viridis Monday, could have become a painter in Paris
during the era of Cubism and the Fauves but, instead, she returned
home to Little Rock. By chance she has been given the job of
sketching condemned men in their last moments, awaiting electrocution.
Will she succeed in saving Nail? Or will the singing
-"choiring"- of the trees that Nail hear while strapped into the chair
be the last earthly (or unearthly) sound he will ever hear?
Cockroaches of Stay More
With this wonderfully irreverent comic
novel, Harington leaves off chronicling the human inhabitants of the
Arkansas Ozark town of Stay More and turns his attention to its insect
world. In depicting the cockroach community, who perambulate on
gitalongs, apprehend their environment through sniff whips and commit
unwitting malapropisms about the mysterious world of Man (and Woman),
Harington unleashes a sprightly, antic imagination.
13 Albatrosses (or, Falling off the Mountain)
Welcome to the strange, quixotic quest
of Vernon Ingledew: to win the governorship of Arkansas.
Ingledew, a self-taught genius is soon hampered by what his opponents
refer to his "Thirteen Albatrosses." Among them: he is an
atheist; lives in sin with his first cousin; and believe in
"extirpating" -that is, getting rid of- hospitals, prisons, tobacco,
and handguns. Nevertheless, Ingledew attracts to his campaign
some of America's heaviest political hitter. Together they from
Ingledew's Seven Samurai, aides whose devotion will be tested by
kidnappings, adulterous love affairs, and defection to the rival
campaign of the vulgar, hated Arkansas Governor Shoat Bradfield.
Let Us Build Us A City: Eleven Lost Towns
"Let us build us a city," says the Book
of Genesis, "and a tower whose top may reach unto heaven." The
city builders of America were more ambitious still, putting "City"
into the names of more than a thousand towns. In Arkansas alone
thirty-six of them were laid out, from Mound City on the Mississippi
to Cherokee City near the Oklahoma line. Donald Harington
visited what remains of eleven Arkansas "cities" founded in more
prosperous days, and he has written a book about them that is like no
other in American literature.
In the long years of decline many of these towns dwindled to a church,
a post office, a general store, a gas station, and a few rundown
houses. But every rundown house has a rundown porch, every porch
a rocking chair, and every rocker and old man or woman with a story
0sometimes many stories. The author tracked a researcher named
Kim who was listening to and recording the stories, and with her help
put together a unique and enchanting book about towns that will never
again be their old selves and towns that never were anything to begin
with, despite the brave dreams of their founders. At the end of
the adventure the author and Kim fell in love.
Some other Place. The Right Place
Diana Stoving, freshly graduated from
Sarah Lawrence, never suspects that thumbing through a local New
Jersey newspaper will launch her on a year-long journey filled with
strange adventure. Nether does ingenuous Day Whittacker, Eagle
Scout. But Diana and Day and the reincarnated presence of
Diana's deceased grandfather -Daniel Lyam Montross- are fatefully
drawn together to explore Montross's life and investigate the violent
death he suffered twenty years before.
Rich in its sense of time and timelessness, lyrical and erotic in it's
tone, Some Other Place. The Right Place. follows Diana
and Day in their turns as amateur archaeologists, naturalists, sleuth,
and, inevitably, lovers, as the solution of Montross's end reveals the
mystery of their own beginnings.
Latha Bourne, the attractive
postmistress of Stay More -a small town in the Arkansas Ozarks- didn't
expect to see Every Dill again.
More than ten years before, Latha had rejected many young men,
including Every, because she loved only Raymond Ingledew. When
Ray was posted missing during World War I, Latha continued to be true
until Every, growing frantic, raped her, robbed the bank, and vanished
leaving her pregnant.
Now everyone in the village is surprised that Every had the nerve to
reappear, and Latha, anxious to savor Every anew, is surprised by his
insistence that, as a revivalist preacher, he must first marry her.
Donald Harington's candid narrative weaves into an erotic yet
wonderfully innocent tale of loss and of finding.
The Cherry Pit
Clifford Stone -quixotic curator of
arcane Americana at a Boston antiques foundation and cataloguer of our
"Vanished American Past"- forsakes Boston, his icy wife, and even his
most constant companion, his Ring-Master notebook, to return to his
hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas, and a life that is both instantly
familiar and disturbingly strange.
Cliff's journey back to Little Rock begins as a recovery mission.
In quick turns, though, it becomes a desperate search for ,
confrontation with, immersion in, and
emergence from his lost past. In a series of libidinous,
murderous, hilarious, and anxious adventures, Cliff renews old
friendships -including one with a special girl he thought he had
forgotten- and makes some new enemies.
The Cherry Pit is a flamboyant,
lascivious, comic novel about restoration and renewal -and, like all
proper comic novels, a serious book.