Tuesday, September 3, 2013

"Lookaway, Lookaway"

Wilton Barnhardt is the author of the novels Lookaway, Lookaway, Emma Who Saved My Life, Gospel, and Show World. A native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, he teaches fiction in the master of fine arts in creative writing program at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, where he lives.

Barnhardt applied the Page 69 Test to Lookaway, Lookaway and reported the following:
This is fairly representative of its chapter. Big Man on Duke University campus (in the late 1960s) Duke Johnston meets younger, eager, future literary figure Gaston Jarvis:
Duke Johnston, showing up to the candidate debates with his limp and his cane, handily became the student body president. He got to go to Washington to meet and shake hands with former Vice-President Nixon (a Duke alum), had lunched with the governor and asked Senator Erwin, who had come to Durham for a lecture, to one of his famous barbecues at Arcadia House—and Senator Sam said yes! What a college career, what greatness was portended… and now, in his first year at law school (Duke University forbade him from heading up north to Harvard or Yale, gave him every fellowship, threw every prize and scholarship they could find at him), insignificant wretch Gaston Jarvis was going to a house party at the next-to-campus mansion known as Arcadia, was going to meet the golden youth and his legendary coterie of smart, gifted young men and the gifted ladies who adored such men, Duke Johnston, surely a future president…

Gaston Jr. hated his father Gaston Sr., but he had to give his old man credit for allowing him to keep up appearances at Duke University. Gaston Jarvis, Sr., had always been a bit sensitive about the provenance of his own law degree, so after a lifetime of belittling his son, he nonetheless was willing to pay for a Duke University education, so as better to allow a confusion, a sense that maybe son followed father to his ol’ alma mater, a few backslaps in the club, a bit of “yes, just like the old man!” when asked how his son was getting on at Duke. Nor did he wish his son to show up as some rube with one Sunday suit.
Learn more about the book and author at Wilton Barnhardt's website and blog.

Writers Read: Wilton Barnhardt.

--Marshal Zeringue