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Place of Shelter (hardcover)

Nolan Dennett

Price: U.S. $19.95
Nolan Dennett
Place of Shelter (hardcover)
Series No.: NAF 30
ISBN: 978-1557131300, Pages:
American Literature, Fiction

A Sun & Moon title.

* * *

After a fitful start, Dennett's first novel, a coming-of-age tale, gains power as it intertwines two primary plot threads: the drama of a young gay teenager who comes out in rural Idaho and the saga of a broken-hearted wandering peddler who masters local Native American spiritual and medical practices. Dennett, a dance teacher at Western Washington University, starts out with an awkward variation of the second-person voice as the narrator, Clinton, talks to his younger self about his earlier life. As his feelings for a local farmhand, Corey, unfold, Clinton must also deal with Corey's abusive, alcoholic father, who menaces both boys. The second drama concerns Viktor, a colorful village peddler known as the "Vinegar Man," who reveals his past in a series of engaging frontier episodes related mostly in the third person. Viktor has a tragic romance with a frontier woman, Melissa, who eventually marries him and bears his child in a heterosexual bonding that delicately contrasts with accounts of Clinton and Corey's emerging sexuality. Merging poetic observations, passages about Native American values and the inner emotions of his characters, Dennett gets a bit melodramatic now and then, but readers who persevere through the tough early chapters will be amply rewarded for their diligence.

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