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 Fiction Review   

 

Prodigals
By Mark Powell
University of Tennessee Press, 2002
Hardcover, $26.95  (193 pages)
ISBN: 1-57233-189-5
 
 
 

Fifteen year old Ernest Cobb has fled his South Carolina home after the death of his girlfriend. They both feared she was pregnant and while he's innocent of her murder, he's terrified of facing his father's wrath.

In the late summer of 1944, making his way northward to Asheville through the Blue Ridge Mountains, Ernest meets fellow travelers -- drifters, veterans, and outsiders -- who are willing to help him. An aging hermit and woodsman, once a glassblower, rescues and revives Ernest after a particularly chilly evening.

Upon his arrival in Asheville, he finds work as a dishwasher, takes shelter in a dreary boardinghouse, and soon becomes involved with a new girlfriend. When their relationship ends, Ernest decides to accompany his friend, June Bug, to the logging camps.

Told in a minimalist style, Prodigals, is a novel about Ernest's loss of innocence as well as America's loss of innocence after World War II. Using the American landscape of small towns and logging camps as touchstones, Prodigals focuses on the subculture of transients and the loneliness driving them.

Mark Powell, who studied creative writing at the University of South Carolina, lives in Mountain Rest, South Carolina. Prodigals is the author's first novel.

 

Pam Kingsbury
Southern Scribe Reviews

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