From Publishers Weekly
An eye for detail ("A long string of okrafied spit hung stubbornly from his lip") and an ear for regional speech ("Don't look at me in that tone er voice") are the most satisfying features of this rambling but ingratiating debut about an African American boyhood in Depression-era Arkansas. At 13, Sun Hughes comes to live with his tyrannically religious Uncle Pet, owner of a general store in a small rural community. There he feels the strictures of Jim Crow, not to mention the pressure to conform to the born-again Baptist behavior expected of him as the scion of one of his town's most prominent families. He also feels the strength of sexual temptation, in the person of his precocious, beautiful cousin Saravania. After a strong opening section that provides copious local color, the novel moves back in time to chronicle the tortuous death of Sun's father, Andra, from diabetes, which blinds, then cripples him (in one terrifying scene, he soaks his infected and rotting feet in Lysol) before it takes his life. Pet's disappearance from the story leaves a hole that Hill never quite fills?and the other characters are forceful but not compelling, tied together by the episodes in which they appear rather than by any narrative momentum. Although such a loosely structured series of fictional reminiscences could have profited from a stronger editorial hand, the book, even at its most long-winded, is warm, funny and wonderfully observed. Author tour. (Oct.) FYI: Hill was an architectural engineer before he turned to writing fiction.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
"Retired architectural engineer Hill should not have waited so long in life to produce this first novel," exclaimed LJ's reviewer. At least he finally put pen to paper, producing a beautifully rendered coming-of-age tale about a young black boy in Depression-era Arkansas. This quietly successful novel won cheers wherever it was reviewed.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.