Selected by Granta as one of America's best young writers and featured in The New Yorker's best young fiction issue, Tony Earley now gives us a luminous portrait of a ten-year-old boy growing up in the Depression-era town of Aliceville, North Carolina:
"As the sun began to set, Jim and the uncles watched the last yellow light of the day slide up the mountain toward the bald, dragging evening behind it. When the light went out of their faces, they turned and watched it retreat up the peak, where at the summit a single tree flared defiantly before going dark. A chilly breeze whipped from nowhere across the bald and flapped the legs of Jim's overalls. He turned with the uncles for a last look at the view before heading down the mountain. All but the brightest greens had drained out of the world, leaving in their stead an array of somber blues. A low fog had begun to seep out between the trees along Painter Creek. Jim jumped down from the rock and looked again toward home."
At once delightful and wise, Jim the Boy brilliantly captures the pleasures and fears of youth at a time when America itself was young and struggling to come into its own.
Jim the Boy will appeal to the readers who loved classics like To Kill a Mockingbird, Ellen Foster, and A Member of the Wedding.
During the night something like a miracle happened: Jims age grew an extra digit. He was nine years old when he went to sleep, but ten years old when he woke up. The extra number had weight, like a muscle, and Jim hefted it like a prize. The uncles ages each contained two numbers, and now Jims age contained two numbers as well. He smiled and stretched and sniffed the morning. Wood smoke; biscuits baking; the cool, rivery smell of dew. Something not quite daylight looked in his window, and something not quite darkness stared back out. A tired cricket sang itself to sleep. The cricket had worked all night. Jim rose to meet the waiting day.
Jims mother opened the stove door with a dishrag. Mama was tall and pale and handsome; her neck was long and white. Although she was not yet thirty years old, she wore a long, black skirt that had belonged to her mother. The skirt did not make her seem older, but rather made the people in the room around her ...
If you liked Jim The Boy, try these:
A Painted House is a moving story of one boy's journey from innocence to experience inspired by Grisham's own childhood in rural Arkansas.
Carter's clean and eloquent prose evokes a time when the cycles of life were predictable and simple and the rules were heartbreaking and complex - Carter creates a sensitive portrait of an era that shaped the nation.
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