Catalogue


The paperboy /
Pete Dexter.
edition
1st trade ed.
imprint
New York : Random House, c1995.
description
307 p. ; 25 cm.
ISBN
0679421750 (acid-free paper) :
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York : Random House, c1995.
isbn
0679421750 (acid-free paper) :
catalogue key
819823
A Look Inside
Awards
This item was nominated for the following awards:
First Chapter
ON A COLD WINTER MORNING four years later, early in 1969--in the same year my brother would blossom as a journalist--I lost my swimming scholarship at the University of Florida.  A few weeks afterward, I was expelled for an act of vandalism.

Specifically, I drank a small bottle of vodka and drained the swimming pool, which, while childish, is more complicated work than it may seem from the outside.  I don't want to get into the mechanics of it now, but let me assure you that you don't just pull the plug.

I returned home, ashamed, and went to work at my father's newspaper, theMoat County Tribune,driving a delivery truck.

My father never asked what had happened to me in Gainesville, or if I intended to go back, but it was clear that he meant for me to drive the truck until I saw it was this life's one alternative to a college education.

He was not formally educated himself, and often spoke of he fact as if it were something lost.  "Lord, I would have loved to study literature," he would say, as if he needed permission from a college to read books.

All that winter and spring I drove the north route for theTribune,traveling 325 miles over the narrow, mostly shoulderless two-lane roads of northern Moat County.  I loaded the truck in the dark, passing the sign marking Thorn's city limits by three-thirty in the morning.

Each morning at nine o'clock, if the truck didn't break own and the press runs were on time, I came to the clearing where Sheriff Call's car had been found. The spot was partially hidden from the road--a baked, treeless circle cut to a stand of pines, a picnic table and two outdoor toilets no more than twenty feet apart, the men's to the east, the Ladies' to the west.  A marker indicated the spot where the best school in the state had once stood, and a hand-painted gun attached to one of the privies showed a Confederate flag and a hand unconnected to any arm, and across these pages the legend MOAT COUNTY EXTENDS A WELCOME HAND TO YANKEES !

Fifteen miles down the road was my last stop of the day--ten papers that I was required to place facedown on a makeshift wooden table just behind the gum ball machines inside sun-faded country store run by an indeterminate number of members of the Van Wetter family, who did not want their patrons met with bad news as they came in the door.

What specific blood connection these Van Wetters had to the man Sheriff Call stomped to death, I do not know.  The Van Wetters occupied half a column of the Moat County telephone book and their children rarely married outside the family.  Calculating the collateral relations was beyond me, even if the Van Wetters had been inclined to discuss their family tree, which they were not.

I can only tell you that some mornings an old man was there, blind and freshly angry, as if the blindness had come over him in the night.  He would make his way to the papers I had brought and count them, moving the folded edges up into the palm of his hand with his fingers, as if he were tickling them, his face scowling up into the window like a sour plant growing to light.  And some mornings it was his wife.

Other times there was a young, pregnant woman with the most beautiful skin I had ever seen, whose children would run through a curtain and into the back when I came into the store.

This woman never looked up, but a moment after the children had disappeared, a man whose face had been burned--whose skin creased at his eye like a badly ironed shirt--would emerge from the curtain and stand a foot inside the room, his hands at his sides, watching until I had stacked the papers and left.

Once, when I had forgotten to collect for the week, I went back into the store and found him still standing where I'd left him, staring at her as she straightened boxes of candy bars in the ca

Excerpted from The Paperboy by Pete Dexter
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 1994-11-07:
Moat County, Fla., is located where the St. John's River flows north-a geographical rarity and, in literature, a signal that we've entered the strange and violent world of National Book Award-winner Dexter (Paris Trout). Narrator Jack James is the son of the Moat County Tribune's editor and publisher. While Jack's older brother, Ward, reports for the Miami Times, Jack has settled for a job delivering papers for the Tribune. But when Ward and his partner, evil dandy Yardley Acheman, come to Moat County to investigate the four-year-old murder of the local sheriff, Jack assists them in the inquiry. After a vicious beating by two sailors lands Ward in the intensive care unit, Yardley finishes the story without Ward and Jack, fabricating evidence to do so. Accompanying his traumatized brother Ward back to Miami, Jack takes a job as a copyboy at the Times. It isn't long, however, before Yardley's wrongdoing comes to light, generating more trouble for the Jameses. Dexter's writing is rock-solid, he offers acute observations about the nature of reporting and his grip on the Southern male psyche is unquestionable. The powerful thematic drive of Paris Trout is missing here, however, and the story line is so complicated that it loses focus and then almost peters out. But if this isn't Dexter's best, it's still a provocative offering from one of the most exciting novelists around. Major ad/promo. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Appeared in Library Journal on 1994-09-15:
A 1989 National Book Award winner for Paris Trout, Dexter offers another tale of crime and passion. Two journalist brothers are conned into reinvestigating the case of a murderer on Death Row by a gorgeous woman who has fallen in love with the man from afar. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Booklist,
Library Journal, September 1994
Kirkus Reviews, November 1994
Publishers Weekly, November 1994
Library Journal, January 1995
Chicago Tribune, June 2004
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
The sun was rising over Moat County, Florida, when Sheriff Thurmond Call was found on the highway, gutted like an alligator. A local redneck was tried, sentenced, and set to fry. Then Ward James, hotshot investigative reporter for theMiami Times, returns to his rural hometown with a death row femme fatale who promises him the story of the decade. She's armed with explosive evidence, aiming to free--and meet--her convicted "fiancU." With Ward's disillusioned younger brother Jack as their driver, they barrel down Florida's back roads and seamy places in search of The Story, racing flat out into a shocking head-on collision between character and fate as truth takes a back seat to headline news...

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