Southern Scribe
    our culture of storytelling

 

 Fiction Review   

 
Hollow Ground
By Stephen Marion
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2002
Hardcover, $23.95 (308pp)
ISBN: 1-56512-323-9

 

 
 

Hollow Ground, Stephen Marion's first novel, is set in Zinctown, Tennessee, the kind of mining town young men dream of leaving and never seeing again.

Fourteen years ago, Gary Solomon left behind Brenda (his pregnant girlfriend), a brother who died before he was born, a father who expected Gary to replace his older brother, and the expectations of a settled life.

Brenda and her son Taft have built a life in Gary's absence. As so often happens, older men have stepped into replace the father Taft has never known -- his ex-convict uncle and his dreamy grandfather. Ironically, his friend Tanya has the greatest influence over him. When she explains life, he listens closely and takes notes. 

Hollow Ground is a coming of age story of both father and son. Gary's redemption is reluctant. His father is nearly dead and their chance for reconciliation almost blown. His son is fourteen and no longer feels any need for a father. Brenda, who he's never stopped loving, isn't ready to forgive him. There's no reason for Gary to stay, but he does. 

Stephen Marion, a photographer and reporter for the Standard Banner in Jefferson City, Tennessee, grew up in Dandridge, Tennessee.  He received the Arthur Lynn Andrews Prize for Fiction at Cornell University and is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship.

 

Pam Kingsbury
Southern Scribe Reviews 

 

2002, Southern Scribe Reviews, All Rights Reserved