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Yonder Stands Your Orphan Paperback – Bargain Price, April 18, 2002

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press (April 18, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802138934
  • ASIN: B005IV06V4
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,544,953 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Hallelujah! After a 10-year absence, Hannah (Airships; High Lonesome) is back with a vengeance with a Southern gothic novel full of every kind of excess: violence, sex, religiosity, creepiness and humor. Here we have Tennessee Williams, Flannery O'Connor, Harry Crews, Peter Dexter and Clyde Edgerton all squished together, baked in hush-puppy batter, dipped in honey and sprinkled with Jim Beam. Set in a lake community in the vicinity of Vicksburg, Miss., the story revolves around a fellow named Man Mortimer, a thief, pimp and murderer and those are his good qualities who physically resembles the late country singer Conway Twitty. On his trail are Byron Egan, a somewhat reformed biker-turned-preacher and prophet, and Max Raymond, a former doctor who plays saxophone in a bar band and has an attractive Cuban wife who sings, sometimes for the band, sometimes nude in her back yard. Meanwhile, the young town sheriff, distrusted since he hails from the North, manages to shock even the most degenerate denizens of the area with his affair with a luscious 72-year-old widow. The plot is kaleidoscopic, with flashes and slashes of wonder, humor and the macabre expertly mixed. Hannah tosses off linguistic gems on almost every page: "... sometimes he felt he was a whole torn country, afire in all quadrants." Describing a car, "It smelled like very lonely oil men." Reading today's fiction is too often like eating stale bread. With Hannah (finalist for the American Book Award and the National Book Award), just imagine your most mouthwatering meal, take a double helping and you've come close to the pleasure of reading this book. (July)Forecast: This is Hannah's first novel in 10 years, and arguably his finest. Grove is celebrating it with a 25,000-copy first printing, and retrospective reviews and features will ensure that readers sit up and take notice. Sales will be strongest in the South, but should be steady elsewhere, too. An evocative, Faulkneresque jacket will attract browsers.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Hannah's first novel in ten years (since Never Die) concerns a motley group of eccentrics living along a lake near Vicksburg, MS. Among them are Man Mortimer, who resembles the late country singer Conway Twitty and has his hand in nearly every kind of evil in the area; Max Raymond, an ex-doctor turned saxophonist; Mimi, his smoldering, Cuban-born wife and singer with their Latin band; Sheriff Facetto, a young lawman and amateur actor in love with a still-attractive 72-year-old widow, Melanie Wooten; and Gene and Penny Ten Hoor, who run a cult-like camp for orphans. The plot revolves around the increasingly malevolent consequences of Mortimer's attempts to retrieve some bones, evidence of an old crime, found by the children of a former lover in the trunk of a 1948 Ford coupe. This is a wildly colorful, darkly comic, and ultimately sinister tale of madness and murder. For larger public libraries. Lawrence Rungren, Merrimack Valley Lib. Consortium, Andover, MA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

I cannot tell you how much I hated the 60% or so of this book that I got through.
Mary Remmel Wohlleb
There are way too many characters to keep up, the story is confusing, and the characterizations weak.
Hoppy Doppelrocket
Mr. Hannah is a writer in a different category to most, for in my opinion, he is truly an artist.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By taking a rest HALL OF FAME on October 29, 2001
Format: Hardcover
"Yonder Stands Your Orphan", by Barry Hannah brings together dozens of characters who span the human range of strange and bizarre, and are ruled by the strangest and cruelest of all. The area he has created is one of the spots where having arrived after a wrong turn on the highway you find you are through the looking glass. In this instance, a long way through the looking glass.
This book purports to be a, "searing picture of The American South". I hope that part of the introduction is as unlikely as this many dysfunctional players gathering in one place. I cannot imagine anyone living in the area of The American South he portrays being pleased with his version. The book may be intended more as dark humor than any sort of realistic portrayal, however if that is the case, it is well hidden.
This is a place where most have some unsavory past, and often share it with more than one other of the players in the book. Where skeletal remains are not a cause for an investigation, but rather as friends to sit in the moonlight with. The author has also created one of the great predators of fiction in Mortimer. If there was ever a person with absolutely no redeeming value as a life form, it is this character.
There is much that will have to be left for your reading of the book, as the action goes light-years beyond illicit liquor, and petty crimes. Barry Hannah has created a very dark locale and filled in with the darkest of human impulses, actions, and abuses. The book is not a gratuitous ride through low level humanity; in fact the players in the book are generally so abject in their behavior that they cease to cause even mild alarm as the book progresses. The book is rather beguiling even though you may be hoping for the graphic end to many you will read about. This is most definitely a book unlike one you have read before, so if a new view on the lower levels of human behavior sounds interesting, read away.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 11, 2001
Format: Hardcover
As a solid Hannah fan, I looked forward to this latest with great anticipation and wasn't at all disappointed. To the contrary, I think he's reached a new pinnacle. All of the editorial reviewers comments here are a propos, with the possible exception of the remark that the "plot fails to hold [the characters] into a cohesive story." That reviewer may not have understood that a "plot" isn't needed in this intentionally meandering crazy quilt of a story whose intricate interweavings themselves form the glue of the piece; the linear structure (such as it is) is quite secondary. The trip's the thing, not the destination. Hannah combines his well-known ear for language with a gift for trenchant observation. A reviewer once remarked that every sentence Hannah writes is a surprise, and with this novel the remark is no hyperbole. Every phrase moves along the action, or defines relationships, or conveys insight and/or laugh-out-loud humor. He compresses whole philosophies into throw-away lines. His verbal richness and economy makes for slower reading than with most books (not a problem for me since I like to chew things over anyway), but it's well worth it. Hannah doesn't waste your attention with pap, or filler, or lead-in sentences. It's all meat.
And a caution: reviewers who compare Hannah to McMurtry or Faulkner or other Southerners, if not being downright patronizing, do him a disservice. He's quite aware of literature beyond the confines of the South, thank you. The violence in this novel, while sinister and redolent of that in the larger culture, wants to be read like the over-the-top, Post-modern Pulp Fiction variety. Hannah is a fascinatingly original prose stylist whose world is as unique as Nicholson Baker's or Peter Handke's (two other favorites).
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By B. Musler on January 5, 2004
Format: Hardcover
If Barry Hannah were James Joyce, 'Yonder Stands Your Orphan' would be his 'Ulysses.' By that I mean this isn't the place to start reading him, but if you've been blooded by his short stories or earlier novels and liked them - well then "Yonder" is your basic "towering work of staggering genius." I intend no irony, nor do I contend the book is perfect...just startlingly original.
At its core "Yonder" contemplates good and evil. Early on in the novel, a married couple crucify themselves, only later to resurrect their vows and return to the same house and raise orphans...negligently. The main antagonist, an entrepreneurial pimp named "Man Mortimer" is either evil, or going insane, depending upon your politics. At any rate, he's a menace to a lakeside society (somewhere up the Yazoo) that's too preoccupied with fishing and SUV's to perceive the threat. As he hacks away at the populace "Man" (who takes a stiletto to the testicles fighting over his lover) grows ever smaller and more childish. The cosmetic surgery his victims require makes them resemble their attacker -- a dead ringer for Conway Twitty. A few preachers and an ex-doctor, (become a jazz musician,) notice something is amiss, but their deeds and commitments are too ingrained to stop "Man" from going bad to worse. A much despised and yearning sheriff would rather do drama than police work. About halfway through the book the plot took off for me. Then I couldn't stop reading because I wanted to know what would stop this Man.
On the way to the end "Yonder" made me laugh aloud.
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