Author(s): Padgett Powell
This is Padgett Powell's first book, a classic coming of age novel with a unique and memorable hero. Simons Everson Manigault ('You say it "Simmons". I'm a rare one-m Simons') lives with his mother, an eccentric professor known as the Duchess, on an isolated strip of South Carolina coast. Convinced that her son can be a writer of genius, the Duchess has immersed Simons in the literary classics since birth and has given him free rein to gather materials in such spots as the Baby Grand, a local black nightclub. Although possessed of a vocabulary and sophistication beyond his years, Simons feels the normal adolescent bewilderment about the behaviour of his parents. His conventional father, the Progenitor, has recently left the family in a dispute over Simons' upbringing and has moved to nearby Hilton Head, where he would like to see his son raised in the orthodox surroundings of condominiums, country clubs and private schools. So the Duchess brings in Taurus, an enigmatic father-surrogate who tutors the boy in the art of watching the world without presumption.
"'Truly remarkable... both as a narrative and in its extraordinary use of language. It reminds one of The Catcher in the Rye, but it's better-sharper, funnier, and more poignant' (Walker Percy) 'A remarkable book... there is not a line that simply slides by; each, in one way or another, turns things to a fresh and unexpected angle. There are splendid things said' (Richard Eder, Los Angeles Times) 'Sly, pungent, lyric, funny, and unlikely to be forgotten' (R. Z. Sheppard, Time)"
Padgett Powell's Edisto was nominated for the US National Book Award. He teaches writing at the University of Florida.