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Yonder Stands Your Orphan (2001)

by Barry Hannah

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1942118,561 (3.17)5
The story of how the denizens of a lakeside community in Mississippi are beset by madness, murder and sin in the form of Man Mortimer. Mortimer, a creature of the casinos who looks like the dead country singer Conway Twitty, is a killer who has turned mean and sick.
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I could not finish this book. If this is what passes for great writing we are in more trouble than I thought. This book is so unique, at times exceptionally wordy and other times the sentences are clipped, but either way nothing of any meaning is ever conveyed, a remarkable feat. Not sure I will seek out another book by this author regardless of the amount of praise afforded to him, and this book had a bunch. ( )
  zmagic69 | Sep 2, 2016 |
Barry Hannah twists words around inside sentences so that they shouldn’t work – but do. Sentences coil and release, and a quietly stunning turn of phrase pops out more often than not.

Placed at a Mississippi lake, many people inhabit the story. Man Mortimer, a Conway Twitty look-alike and “small-town sinner living out a sneer established at seventeen” takes up the most space. He’s a pimp and child-pornographer, and is quick with a knife. Man and the rest of the lakeside inhabitants can “shock you with depravity and staggering kindness,” as Roman, a stoic fisherman, observes about life itself. There are retirees, murderers, prostitutes, orphans, drug runners turned clergymen, doctors turned casino jazz musicians, and a weak sheriff in love with a much older woman.

Like the catfish that Roman catches, the story, and writing, is “alive and squirming.” It’s not always easy to wrap your mind around, but is truly worthwhile. ( )
1 vote Hagelstein | Dec 10, 2010 |
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Dedicated to my wife, Susan, and our beloved captain, father, hero Antel "Bud" Varas (1917-1999)
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Inside at the Walnut Bar leaned the disambulatory god of the lake.
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The story of how the denizens of a lakeside community in Mississippi are beset by madness, murder and sin in the form of Man Mortimer. Mortimer, a creature of the casinos who looks like the dead country singer Conway Twitty, is a killer who has turned mean and sick.

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