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The Calling is the story of Blackford "Toad" Turlow, an ambitious, impressionable young man who aspires to be a writer. The voice in his head is that of Eldon Odom, a famous - sometimes infamous - novelist to whom Toad apprentices himself. In the beginning, Toad devours every morsel from Odom, both words and actions. But along the way he learns far more than the art of crafting fiction. He discovers that behind Odom's genius is a warped human being who abuses himself and those around him with alcohol, drugs and debauchery. Instead of teaching his eager disciples about writing, Odom uses them to fulfill his base desires. But Toad listens carefully to "The Old Man," the writer who years before was Odom's own mentor and who describes himself as "just the strange boy who cared to write things down." Toad is also influenced by the echoes o f his reckless, lovable dead sister, Trish; Odom's lean and lusty girlfriend, Lindy Briggs; Odom's loving and patient wife, Miss Sully; and by Toad's own girlfriend, the knowing Ardis Baines From this boozy, brilliant cast of characters, Toad eventually learns that a man and his art are two different things, that the worth of one may far exceed the other, and that there are dangerously thin lines between creativity and madness, between dedication and obsession. The Calling is beautifully written and thoroughly engrossing novel of passion and purpose - one that tells much about the calling and the called. "The characters ...are vividly realized, resistant to stereotypes. And the story's three female leads - Ardis, Toad's sometime girlfriend; Missy Sully, Odom's wife; and Lindy, Odom's current mistress - are complex individuals who play out their expected roles in unexpected fashion," said Nancy Pate in her review for the Orlando Sentinel. And, the Winston Salem Journal wrote, "Watson has much to say about life and art, about creativity and obsession, about the danger of violating reasonable bounds. He says it very well."
For Merelene Durham it's been fifteen years of coping, of determination not to lose her purchase on this world: a world that has become almost unendurable since her rakish husband, Mayfield, fled after encephalitis turned their son Roland's mind into a strange, shell-holed country. Blind Tongues is the story of what happens when Mayfield unexpectedly returns, and his conviction that a newly made fortune can make Roland whole again, of a brilliant local attorney whose body bears the scars of aviation heroics in World War II, and finally of Merelene herself, who must choose between these two competitors in love while trying to accept the sweet simplicity of her ageless son. Sterling Watson, author of The Calling and Fighting in the Shade, has created a stunning evocation of a Florida coast town and of the people struggling for love and solace within its borders.
"High school football mixes with Faust in this blitz of a novel
from Watson . . . a big Dennis Lehane-like story of society,
opportunity, and consequences, revealing Watson as an accomplished
"As Watson reminds us, corruption and cruelty survive through their
uncanny ability to take on new shapes."
Sent to live in the humidity of rural Florida with his grandparents
and his sixteen-year-old Aunt Delia for the summer, twelve-year-old
Travis becomes absorbed in the closed ways of small-town life.
Captivated by Delia, Travis watches her attempt to find a place for
herself in the socially stunted, gossip-driven town. Delia's
secrets go beyond what Travis can understand, but he believes that
he alone can save her--a belief that not only forces him to grow up
fast, but one that builds to a dangerous and disturbing climax. In
trying to free Delia from her past, Travis leads her into a
shocking present and a most uncertain future.
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