From Publishers Weekly
Noir writer Thompson, who has been getting a lot of attention lately in paperback reissue and in movie versions of some of his downbeat studies of small, thwarted lives, began rather differently, as evidenced in this reprinting of his second novel, first published in 1946. While scarcely the " lost classic" its publisher claims, it is an interesting period piece, an odd mix of social realism and early Dallas. Set in a small Nebraska town around 1914, it tells of the interlocking lives of the mean-spirited, brawling Fargo clan, a charming young lawyer who becomes a crooked politico, an embittered English bank clerk dying slowly of syphilis, sundry vivacious kids, and the glamorous Bella, whose longing to get away to the big city ends in death. Winding up in a Grand Guignol finish, this is very much a young man's book, full of uninhibited energy, mixing scenes that work with ones that emphatically don't, and demonstrating flashes of insight alongside crude tomfoolery. And there are embarrassing bursts of mawkish "fine writing," of cut-rate Thomas Wolfe. But there is also a real feel for small-town life, a clearheaded, populist view of American economic imperatives, and an endearing playfulness that does not survive in the somber later Thompson.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Inside Flap
Old Lincoln Fargo has spent his life engaging in almost every vice imaginable--and his only regret is that he once stole a horse. His son Grant, a shiftless dandy with a resemblance to Edgar Allan Poe, is conducting an affair with his voluptuous and volatile cousin. And behind everyone's back, Grandmother Pearl has just signed the family property over to the Almighty.
In the literature of the American prairie, few families are as brawling, as benighted, or as outrageously vital as the Fargos of Verdon, Nebraska. And when Jim Thompson chronicles their life and times, the result suggest Willa Cather steeped in rotguut--and armed with a .45.