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Paris Trout (signed) by Pete Dexter
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Paris Trout (signed) (original 1988; edition 1988)

by Pete Dexter

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905179,748 (3.9)39
Member:PBlock
Title:Paris Trout (signed)
Authors:Pete Dexter
Info:Random House (1988), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 306 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:Signed PB, 1st

Work details

Paris Trout by Pete Dexter (1988)

  1. 00
    Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin (whymaggiemay)
    whymaggiemay: Both books take place in the south, though in different states. The underlying racial tone is very similar.
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» See also 39 mentions

English (16)  Italian (1)  All languages (17)
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
This is a very good novel about a terrible man who does some terrible things and is largely supported in his violent, antisocial behavior by the society in which he lives. While Paris Trout is the central character and the catalyst for the story, the book is simply a portrait of an evil man. It is a portrait of a social structure that finds it impossible to contain the behavior of such a man. Trout is an outsider with a sour disposition. He abuses his wife. He takes advantage of the black community with high-interest loans. And he ultimately kills a fourteen-year-old girl when he's enraged over not being able to collect a debt from one of her relatives. But Trout is a local businessman with enormous financial resources, and the white community finds it difficult to prosecute him effectively.

The character of Trout is consistently unrepentant and uncompromising. He is the embodiment of the society's worst faults, with no inclination to cover them over with polite talk or deferential behavior. Like the inexplicable motivations of Iago in Shakespeare's Othello, his reasons are always his own, without clear explanation. Even though discussion of this book seems frequently to settle on racism as a primary subject of the book, that is only one facet of what's going on in this story. To let the story go by with only that as the element of its critique is to avoid the more sweeping social criticism, which can be seen to touch us all. Trout's behavior is the manifestation of those societal compromises every civilization makes to varying degrees. Racism is obvious, because this book is set in the American South after World War II. Yet there is also a clear corruption of the social order by the unchallenged belief that money and wealth represent the highest good. Legal justice becomes a commodity that wealth and community standing can help to buy. Seemingly intolerable behavior becomes impossible to oppose when societal rules dictate that we pretend not to see injuries and abuses.

Trout too is a problematic character in that his behavior has grown increasingly erratic over the years. It seems likely that he has always been a difficult man with numerous faults, yet those negative traits have intensified with time. His violent episodes in the book may be evidence of mental problems that finally grew too difficult to control. Trout became "poisoned," just like the rabid foxes in the opening passages of the book, and became a wild animal that ran out of control. Like every story that includes a rabid animal, there is only one way it can end. ( )
  phredfrancis | Feb 8, 2014 |
Paris Trout is both a relentless and subtle novel. It starts out disturbing and never really lets up.

In Cotton Point, Ether County, Georgia, Paris Trout, a local businessman and money lender to the poor, shoots and kills Rosie Sayers, a young black girl, in an altercation about money owed him.

Rosie, who has had a short, difficult life, is in the wrong house at the wrong time. “The things that frightened her worst never came to her in a way she could see them.”

Local attorney Harry Seagraves is hesitant to defend Trout. “A man like Paris Trout could rub his right and wrong up against the written law for ten minutes and occupy half a year of Harry Seagrave’s time straightening it out.”

Trout is true only to himself. “There was a contract he’d made with himself a long time ago that overrode the law, and being the only interested party, he lived by it.”

Trout terrorizes a small segment of the Cotton Point population for several years as he loses both his mind and his many legal appeals.

Written in 1987, the violent climax is mild compared with what we have become used to now, with extensive press coverage being given to horrific mass shootings that claim more lives than Paris Trout could ever hope to. But that doesn’t detract from the power of the story. ( )
  Hagelstein | Oct 11, 2013 |
Read this book years ago, when it first came out in hardcover....lived in
Sacramento, Calif. at the time and I believe Pete Dexter had written for
the Sacramento Bee, before becoming an author...this book won the National
book award (what WERE they thinking?) AND was made into a movie with Dennis Hopper, Barbara
Hershey, and Ed Harris....I HATED this book, more so than the movie (which I saw just
out of plain old curiosity)....the male protagonist has no redeeming
personality traits whatsoever, is a racist, misogynistic whacko taking-up-spacer who
you just want to so get-it-in-the-end...the man is a socio-psychopath, cloaking his nuttiness in a righteous prejudice which knows no bounds.....I can't remember if he does get what he so deserves or not, but
I DO remember that the only decent character in it (lover
of the wife) DOES come to an unhappy denouement...the OTHER thing I DO
remember is that Pete Dexter doesn't know from women at all....no
relatively intelligent (wife is a school teacher) female would marry this
major creepo, let alone ENJOY having sex with him, which is definitely
implied....DON'T READ THIS BOOK is my advice...will be time
wasted.....G. ( )
  Gemma. | May 4, 2013 |
Disturbing look at the lengths to which Southerners in the 1950s would go to prove to themselves they were not bigots. Lots to talk about for a book club. ( )
  libq | Mar 31, 2012 |
Pete Dexter again shows us why he is one of the best writers out there. The book focus's around Paris Trout. A business man who take re-payment of a loan too far. Dexter will have you sucked in, and you will not be able to put this one down. ( )
  jeffsdfw | Feb 10, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
Wow, there’s nothing like an unrepentant villain to make your skin crawl, some psychotic menace who terrorizes an entire town and makes you feel self-righteous about your own minor moral failings.
 

» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Pete Dexterprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Negrini, StefanoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Book description
murder of black by white trial, racist, Georgia
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0140122060, Paperback)

In this novel of social drama, a casual murder in the small Georgia town of Cotton Point just after World War II and the resulting court case cleave open the ugly divisions of race and class. The man accused of shooting a black girl, a storekeeper named Paris Trout, has no great feeling of guilt, nor fear that the system will fail to work his way. Trout becomes an embarrassment to the polite white society that prefers to hold itself high above such primitive prejudice. But the trial does not allow any hiding from the stark reality of social and racial tensions. Dexter, a former newspaper columnist, is also the author of Deadwood and God's Pocket. Paris Trout won the 1988 National Book Award.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:37:59 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A respected white citizen of Cotton Point, Georgia, Paris Trout is a shopkeeper, a money-lender, and a murderer of blacks. And his friends, family and foes do not realize the danger they face in a man who simply will not see his own guilt.#Penguin.

(summary from another edition)

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