The Night Train: Book summary and reviews of The Night Train by Clyde Edgerton

The Night Train

A Novel

by Clyde Edgerton

The Night Train by Clyde Edgerton X
The Night Train by Clyde Edgerton
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  • Published in USA  Jul 2011
    224 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

In 1963, at the age of 17, Dwayne Hallston discovers James Brown and wants to perform just like him. His band, the Amazing Rumblers, studies and rehearses Brown's Live at the Apollo album in the storage room of his father's shop in their small North Carolina town. Meanwhile, Dwayne's forbidden black friend Larry - aspiring to play piano like Thelonius Monk - apprentices to a jazz musician called the Bleeder. His mother hopes music will allow him to escape the South.

A dancing chicken and a mutual passion for music help Dwayne and Larry as they try to achieve their dreams and maintain their friendship, even while their world says both are impossible. In The Night Train, Edgerton's trademark humor reminds us of our divided national history and the way music has helped bring us together.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. [The] work of a generous, restrained writer whose skill and craft allows small scenes to tell a larger, more profound story." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. It is the wealth of well-understood characters that carries the reader through this engaging novel's easily consumed pages." - Booklist

"Edgerton... tells this story skillfully and entertainingly, bringing the characters in this novel richly and vibrantly to life.... [T]he dialog here is particularly noteworthy, bristling and alive with gritty Southern flavor. Recommended for all fans of literary fiction." - Library Journal

"[H]is reputation remains solid.... Edgerton's knowledge about music is on full display, as is his understanding of the subtleties of race relations as the Civil Rights Movement picked up steam." - Kirkus Reviews

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Reader Reviews

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Jeffrey

I lot of short, interesting stories with an amazing come together ending.
The strength of this book is the way the author brings the reader into the world of a few characters and their families in the racially divided South during 1963. The actions and dialogue are real, consistent and interesting, but the I found myself wondering where this book was going just a few chapters from the end. Then, in a matter of fact way the book has first an arrest of a white boy trying to sneak his black friend into a drive in theater, then the stroke of an outspoken racist white woman and the death of a favorite dancing chicken pet. Without warning the white boy gets his dream of being on a TV variety show with his band and the black boy comes of age as a jazz pianist. The real clinching moment is when the white boy goes off script and plays a black James Brown song on the variety, for the love or music or for protest, and the young black musician realizes he is, and forever will be a jazz musician as he plays his own arrangement of Blue Monk in a jazz club.Excellently done!

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Author Information

Clyde Edgerton

Clyde Edgerton is the author of nine previous novels. He teaches creative writing at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where he lives with his wife, Kristina, and their children. You can visit his website at www.clydeedgerton.com

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