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Provinces of Night

Provinces of Night

Written by William Gay

Narrated by Dick Hill


Provinces of Night

Written by William Gay

Narrated by Dick Hill

ratings:
4/5 (14 ratings)
Length:
11 hours
Released:
Mar 25, 2005
ISBN:
9781596005938
Format:
Audiobook

Description

The year is 1952, and E.F. Bloodworth has returned to his home - a forgotten corner of Tennessee - after twenty years of roaming. The wife he walked out on has withered and faded, his three sons are grown and angry. Warren is a womanizing alcoholic, Boyd is driven by jealousy to hunt down his wife's lover, and Brady puts hexes on his enemies from his mamma's porch. Only Fleming, the old man's grandson, treats him with the respect his age commands, and sees past all the hatred to realize the way it can posion a man's soul. It is ultimately the love of Raven Lee, a sloe-eyed beauty from another town, that gives Fleming the courage to reject this family curse.
Released:
Mar 25, 2005
ISBN:
9781596005938
Format:
Audiobook

About the author

Born in Tennessee in 1939, William Gay began writing at fifteen and wrote his first novel at twenty-five, but didn’t begin publishing until well into his fifties. He worked as a TV salesman, in local factories, did construction, hung sheetrock, and painted houses to support himself. He preferred to sit in a kitchen chair at the edge of the woods with a spiral-bound notebook on his knee, writing in his peculiar scrawling longhand. His works include The Long Home, Provinces of Night, I Hate to See That Evening Sun Go Down, Wittgenstein’s Lolita, and Twilight. His work has been adapted for the screen twice, That Evening Sun (2009) and Bloodworth (2010). Most recently, his debut novel has been optioned for film. He died in 2012.


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What people think about Provinces of Night

4.1
14 ratings / 13 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    Loved this book. Gay's humor relieves some of the darkness of the Gothic night.
  • (4/5)
    Still a very good book with some strong anecdotes and heartbreaking prose as is typical of Gay. But while it's his best-known and best-reviewed novel, it seemed the most mainstream and debut-like to me. Just a bit too on the nose in parts. In any case, a worthwhile read.
  • (4/5)
    Loved this book. Gay's humor relieves some of the darkness of the Gothic night.
  • (4/5)
    William Gay has an intense and beautiful grasp of the English language. The lyricism in this novel is superb although there are some repetitious and weak comparisons when it feels like he's just stretching it a bit too much. The Bloodworth family's story is an intriguing one and Gay writes about their calamitous ruin with a deft grace that captivates until the end of the novel.
  • (3/5)
    In the hands of another writer this story could have gotten sentimental instead of just emotional. Gay knew how to tread that line. I didn’t love it as much as a couple of his other novels only because there wasn’t a real plot to this one. Things just happened and people reacted. Not too surprising and fairly gentle in terms of violence and cruelty, some things he’s gone deeply into with other books. There isn’t a villain and there isn’t a hero; these are just folks trying to get by.Stand out lines -“Childhood polio had marked him with a warped leg that limped still when he walked and left him perhaps as well with other warpings not as visible to the naked eye.” p 23“He had begun to fear for his sanity, felt that madness tracked him like a homeless dog, needed only a kind word or gesture to throw its lot with him forever.” p 34“Some from so far back in Godforsaken hollows the owls and chickens bedded down together just for the company.” p 67“Together they knitted whole the fabric of night where violence had rent it.” p 78“There was something oddly restful about the fireflies. He couldn’t put his finger on it but he drew comfort from it anyway. The way they’d seemed not separate entities but a single being, a moving river of light that flowed above the dark water like its negative image and attained a transient and fragile dominion over the provinces of night.” p 161“He thinks the world is his front yard, and everything else, people or whatever, that’s just stuff left lying around for him to play with.” p 215 (what a perfect description of a sociopath!)“Mama might have been a schoolteacher instead of a drunk. You men are always breaking things you don’t know how to fix.” p 217 (a girl explaining the effect her father's desertion had on her mother)“Well I’ll be damned, he said. He grinned ruefully. The sky was black with chickens coming home to roost, he could see them settling about the trees.” p 264
  • (4/5)
    A strange and absurdly poignant novel, with an intriguing cast of characters and a slew of intersecting plotlines that give you an almost gnarled bluesman's roadman of life in rural times. What William Gay does best is shape a world that seems to exist outside of the pages---character who still seem to be living even when they are outside the narrative.

    Fleming was one hell of a hero, and I could see a lot of myself in his thoughts and fears. EF, the old man, comes across as both genuine and lost, set adrift by thousands of bad decisions he's had a lifetime to fuck up. Strong, the archaic, almost atavistic, portrayal of the old fashioned Man. Jr Albright is a hilarious fool of a character, well meaning but silly beyond belief, like Cormac McCarthy's Harrogate mixed with a character from the Trailer Park Boys. Raven Lee was funny and charming, Boyd frustrating but intriguing, a mystery himself, the blood that flows thru Fleming. Brady is a mewling fool, as if he and Warren could make only one functioning man between them.

    Only the cobbled together conclusion, a wrap up, knocks this down from a 5. Truly funny and beautiful in many ways. The voices of dead bluesmen churning out their stories.
  • (5/5)


    Provinces Of Night by William Gay

    4.5*

    As we are introduced to Gay's characters, it's 1952 in rural Tennessee.
    Two important elements of the 1952 backdrop - the valley is about to be buried under a lake by the Tennessee Valley Authority and the nation enters the Korean War.

    E.F. Bloodworth is finally coming home to his mountain home "seventy miles back of Nashville, Tennessee.
    He's an itinerant bluesman, determined to abandon the life of vagrant banjo picker.
    He's returned home to make amends with the wife and 3 sons he'd abandoned years before, after a violent gunfight.
    It's not to be...
    Son Warren, a former war hero is now an alcoholic womanizer, with an equally destructive son.
    Boyd has abandoned his son Fleming and headed for Detroit, in revengeful pursuit of his wife and the peddler she ran off with.
    Brady still lives with his mother and tells fortunes, casts spells, places hexes as he chooses.

    We'll walk with each of these men and experience what motivates them.
    But, it's really 17year old Fleming's story.
    He's an aspiring writer trying to evade the violent, self destructive legacy of his family.
    "The youngest and best hope for the future of this family line resides with him."

    Grandfather EF and grandson Fleming choose to share the road of redemption in the little time allotted them.

    The story in compelling in an earthy kind of way.
    There is definite darkness but also some humor to balance it.

    It's hauntingly tragic.
    It was termed a "whiskey-scented, knife-scarred novel "

    I felt it was masterfully written and I highly recommend the read.
    In reviewing it, I can't do justice to the intensity of the novel.

    -------

    William Elbert Gay (October 27, 1941 – February 23, 2012)
  • (5/5)
    There’s a solid timelessness to William Gay’s writing, a sense that this particular world has existed and will continue long after the story is done. E. F. Bloodworth returns to his home in rural Tennessee, where he abandoned his wife and sons twenty years earlier to live as an itinerant musician. Bloodworth’s trouble was whiskey and women, “boldeyed women staring up at him out of the hot electric dark who seemed to be hanging on to nothing save the night itself.” Bloodworth’s grandson Fleming, knowing his grandfather for the first time, becomes the now old man’s protector. But it’s apparent from the outset that Fleming is made differently from the rest of the family and won’t fall into the same traps as his father and Bloodworth’s other sons have. Gay creates a sense of place: rural Tennessee in the 1950s. The people and mores provide the bulk of it, but nature, as always, is threaded throughout the story and receives some of his most evocative description. Thunder is “a coarse incoherent whisper, just a madman mumbling to himself in the eaves of the world.” “Tilting blackbirds burnished by the noon sun gleamed like contrivances of tinfoil.” “In the east a reef of salmoncolored clouds was rimlit by a bright metallic color he had no name for.” “Somewhere out there in the dark beyond the levee the Mississippi rolled like something larger than life, like a myth, like a dream the world was having.” Gay’s writing summons you to hang onto every word in every sentence. If you drift, something will be missed.
  • (3/5)
    Beautiful poetic writing and at times hilariously funny. There's a family and a collection of other people who whose lives basically revolve around drinking moonshine, doing as little as possible to get by, and wondering aimlessly through life. There are two characters with gifts, a grandfather and grandson, that are misunderstood and unappreciated by the people who've known them all their lives. These two form a close bond. All the while, everyone seems completely oblivious to the TVA project that will flood and put a lot of the region underwater.
  • (5/5)
    Beautifully written. I tis 1052 and E. F. Bloodworth is finally coming home to Ackerman's Field, Tennessee. Itinerant banjo picker and volatile vagrant, he's been gone ever since he gunneddown a deputy thirty years ago. Two of his sons won't be home to greet him: Warren is an alcoholic philander down in Alabama , and Boyd has gone to Detroit in vengeful pursuit of his wife and the pedler she ran off with. Only Fleming, E. F.'s grandson, is pleased with the old man's homecoming.
  • (4/5)
    Really great writing. Gay's sentences are poetic and compelling. The best southern writer that is writing today.
  • (3/5)
    An interesting story of a family and their bonds during the early 1950's in the rural south. Fleming seemed, at first, to have no goals or outllok on life. As the story grew, so did Fleming's bond with his grandfather. Tough reading at times but very well written. Recommended reading.
  • (4/5)
    It's 1952 when Fleming Bloodworth's father take off from Lewis County, Tennessee for Detroit to tack down the peddler that ran away with his wife. This leaves seventeen-year old Fleming to shift for himself in the sharecropper's cabin, which he'd much rather do than move in with his grandmother and his supposedly psychic Uncle Brady. Fleming's summer of freedom with his friends takes an unexpected turn when his banjo-picking grandfather, E.F., shows up after a twenty-year absence. The dialog is so true to life, the characters so vividly drawn, and the tale so fascinating that you don't realize until you've finished that you've read 293 pages (11 hours on audio) of a tale full of things that are much more entertaining to read about than to live through: moonshine-guzzling, gun-fights, knife-fights, con games, vendettas, airplane crashes, fornication, hexes, share-cropping, near-crazed preaching, and plenty of drunk driving. Readers are forewarned that Hohenwald resident Gay's prose is rich in adjectives and images and short on punctuation.