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PARIS TROUT

PARIS TROUT

Written by Pete Dexter

Narrated by Charles S. Dutton


PARIS TROUT

Written by Pete Dexter

Narrated by Charles S. Dutton

ratings:
3/5 (294 ratings)
Length:
2 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Mar 6, 2007
ISBN:
9780061287350
Format:
Audiobook

Description

A respected white citizen of Cotton Point, Georgia, Paris Trout is a shopkeeper, a money-lender, and a murderer of blacks. And his friends, family and foes do not realize the danger they face in a man who simply will not see his own guilt.

Publisher:
Released:
Mar 6, 2007
ISBN:
9780061287350
Format:
Audiobook

About the author

Pete Dexter is the author of the National Book Award-winning novel Paris Trout and five other novels: God's Pocket, Deadwood, Brotherly Love, The Paperboy, and Train. He has been a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News and the Sacramento Bee, and has contributed to many magazines, including Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Playboy. His screenplays include Rush and Mulholland Falls. Dexter was born in Michigan and raised in Georgia, Illinois, and eastern South Dakota. He lives on an island off the coast of Washington. Rob Fleder was executive editor of Sports Illustrated and the editor of SI Books during his twenty years at Time Inc. He was the editor of Sports Illustrated 50th Anniversary Book, Sports Illustrated: The Baseball Book, Sports Illustrated: The Football Book, and Hate Mail from Cheerleaders, among other New York Times bestsellers.


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Reviews

What people think about PARIS TROUT

3.1
294 ratings / 16 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    good mystery
  • (4/5)
    The murder of a child during a botched debt collection is the pivot point for this racially charged, character-strong book, written in 1987 and set in mid century rural Georgia. And the title character, one Paris Trout, is a doozy. Mean as the day is long and increasingly demented as the story grows, he and those connected to him in the town of Cotton Point - from the abused, enigmatic wife to his stalwart but torn attorney, to the brash young lawyer fresh out of law school - all have their own demons to face. This is a very well written, suspense-laden tale. In my view, as a native Georgian, the tale is authentic in its atmosphere and the relative subservience of the local black populace. Trout is a menacing presence you'll not soon forget if you read this.
  • (4/5)
    This is a very good novel about a terrible man who does some terrible things and is largely supported in his violent, antisocial behavior by the society in which he lives. While Paris Trout is the central character and the catalyst for the story, the book is simply a portrait of an evil man. It is a portrait of a social structure that finds it impossible to contain the behavior of such a man. Trout is an outsider with a sour disposition. He abuses his wife. He takes advantage of the black community with high-interest loans. And he ultimately kills a fourteen-year-old girl when he's enraged over not being able to collect a debt from one of her relatives. But Trout is a local businessman with enormous financial resources, and the white community finds it difficult to prosecute him effectively.

    The character of Trout is consistently unrepentant and uncompromising. He is the embodiment of the society's worst faults, with no inclination to cover them over with polite talk or deferential behavior. Like the inexplicable motivations of Iago in Shakespeare's Othello, his reasons are always his own, without clear explanation. Even though discussion of this book seems frequently to settle on racism as a primary subject of the book, that is only one facet of what's going on in this story. To let the story go by with only that as the element of its critique is to avoid the more sweeping social criticism, which can be seen to touch us all. Trout's behavior is the manifestation of those societal compromises every civilization makes to varying degrees. Racism is obvious, because this book is set in the American South after World War II. Yet there is also a clear corruption of the social order by the unchallenged belief that money and wealth represent the highest good. Legal justice becomes a commodity that wealth and community standing can help to buy. Seemingly intolerable behavior becomes impossible to oppose when societal rules dictate that we pretend not to see injuries and abuses.

    Trout too is a problematic character in that his behavior has grown increasingly erratic over the years. It seems likely that he has always been a difficult man with numerous faults, yet those negative traits have intensified with time. His violent episodes in the book may be evidence of mental problems that finally grew too difficult to control. Trout became "poisoned," just like the rabid foxes in the opening passages of the book, and became a wild animal that ran out of control. Like every story that includes a rabid animal, there is only one way it can end.
  • (5/5)
    PARIS TROUT, the National Book Award Winner for Fiction in 1988, is a flawless work. Paris Trout is a resident of Cotton Point, Georgia; an arrogant solitary man who abuses his wife both psychologically and physically, he commits a crime which sends reverberations throughout the community.
    Paris’ mental state deteriorates as he fights against being held accountable for his senseless actions. His attorney and his wife both realize he is disturbed. A feeling of doom seeps into the story and builds until the fateful ending.
    Pete Dexter brilliantly weaves the stories of the residents of a small town in 1950’s Georgia. He effectively draws a variety of personalities and connected storylines - hinting at past indiscretions, exploring people’s private thoughts, and thoroughly bringing his characters to life. I could feel the stifling culture with its simmering hostility.
    I would recommend PARIS TROUT to everyone who enjoys great literature. This is one of the best books I’ve ever read.
    ~Stephanie
  • (5/5)
    Paris Trout is both a relentless and subtle novel. It starts out disturbing and never really lets up.In Cotton Point, Ether County, Georgia, Paris Trout, a local businessman and money lender to the poor, shoots and kills Rosie Sayers, a young black girl, in an altercation about money owed him.Rosie, who has had a short, difficult life, is in the wrong house at the wrong time. “The things that frightened her worst never came to her in a way she could see them.”Local attorney Harry Seagraves is hesitant to defend Trout. “A man like Paris Trout could rub his right and wrong up against the written law for ten minutes and occupy half a year of Harry Seagrave’s time straightening it out.” Trout is true only to himself. “There was a contract he’d made with himself a long time ago that overrode the law, and being the only interested party, he lived by it.”Trout terrorizes a small segment of the Cotton Point population for several years as he loses both his mind and his many legal appeals. Written in 1987, the violent climax is mild compared with what we have become used to now, with extensive press coverage being given to horrific mass shootings that claim more lives than Paris Trout could ever hope to. But that doesn’t detract from the power of the story.
  • (2/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    ***SPOILERS***

    A National Book Award winner, this was an easy book to read. It is nicely paced and the story flows well. The antagonist is very hate-able, and the other characters are very flawed, yet likable. Kind of.

    I don't mind reading books that have a negative storyline. It doesn't bother me to read about violence, sexual situations, or bad language. If it supports and enhances the characters, I am all for it. However, I have an issue with shocking things that seem to come out of nowhere, add nothing to the story in the least, and doesn't help to fill out a character. That happened for me too often in this book. I also have a problem with lost opportunities to make readers take pause and ponder themes presented in the course of a story. That, too, happened too often.

    The characters seems rich in detail, until you start to look closer. Why did Paris' mother tremble when her son was in the room? What kind of childhood did he have? Why did he take her with him at the end?

    What was up with those hand-jobs of the Bonners? What was wrong with Carl's wife, that she couldn't fit into the community?

    And what on earth was wrong with Hanna? Was she just so broken that she had become stoic? Was she so closed off that she saw herself helping Seagroves come to terms with his own emotions, but felt that she was too far gone for help? And what was the purpose of cutting her foot, taking those baths, and acting so vacuous?

    Paris Trout, on the surface, is a story of a bigoted and psychotic man. There is really no more substance to the book than that. There is no "old south" truth here. There is no redemption in showing a culture that has grown, leaving a man behind. There was so much room for more, and Dexter didn't come through. He could have provided more of a commentary on the struggle of a bigoted Southern man coming to terms with undue hatred. He could have shown a flawed logic in elevating a man simply because he has money, but no scruples. He could have shown the emptiness of living in hate, and the richness of love and forgiveness, even though you are physically destitute. He could have compared and contrasted relationships/marriages/friendships.

    Yet, he did not. He wrote a surface story of hate, justice, and revenge. I found very little to take away, otherwise.

    Recommended in that this is an award-winning novel, but it won't make you think as deeply as Dexter wanted you to.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (5/5)
    Pete Dexter again shows us why he is one of the best writers out there. The book focus's around Paris Trout. A business man who take re-payment of a loan too far. Dexter will have you sucked in, and you will not be able to put this one down.
  • (3/5)
    Could there be a more repellent main character than Paris trout? ... maybe, but it's been a while since I've come across one. Appearing early an as your standard variety racist mean-spirited person he soon murders a young black girl without a shred of guilt then proceeds to sink further into depravity and insanity until the final bloody climax. What is probably more chilling is the way the "decent" people in the town ignore and excuse his behaviour. A rather bleak but excellently written look at human nature.
  • (5/5)
    Jeeze I love this book! You know what its like - some books start off with a bang, some end on one and some, like this one, has bangs and crackers and fireworks of all kinds of squibs going off all the way through it. Paris Trout is odd thats for sure but odd in that 'I've got this weird neighbour' kinda way and he just gets worse as the novel unfolds and yet? Even at the end he although I knew for sure he was insane he still managed to make me laugh. I feel slightly guilty for doing so but that's just him, that's what he's like, he somehow sucks you in and you think no he's okay just a bit odd but otherwise he's ok then just when you get all nice and neat and comfortable with him and his silly ways the crazy sod goes something else you weren't expecting.
  • (5/5)
    Flawless writing. Brilliant storytelling. Flannery O'Connor would be jealous.
  • (4/5)
    A very dark and disturbing book that details the evil within Paris Trout and the toll it takes on many. This is not a book for the faint of heart - it depicts Trout's depravity without flinching. His decline is frightening. Given many news headlines we have witnessed over the years, Paris Trout is not the norm in terms of anger,hatred, and racism, but he does not seem so depraved as to be unreal. Well written - so much so that Dexter is now becoming a favorite author.
  • (2/5)
    The book starts with Paris Trout, a white businessman, murdering a 14 year old African American girl. He claims he was perfectly within his rights to do so because someone else in the house owed him a debt. His racism against the family and particularly the girl seems standard of the time at first glance as it is compared and contrasted with how the girl was treated up until then. Though the actual act of murder showed a level of pure malice and spite that went beyond it.As the novel progresses Pete Dexter manages to completely vilify Paris Trout. He becomes a caricature of a man, pure evil, and there are constant hints throughout the novel that people think there is something "not right" with him. Though none of them are disturbed enough to do anything more about it other than give him a wide berth. To their peril.A lot of people compare this novel with To Kill a Mockingbird. I have to say that it seemed a lot harsher than that novel. Also, because the racism in Paris Trout was distorted to seem like something only the insane would do, it diminished it and made it seem like an impossibility in polite society. That is not true (and definitely wasn't true in 1988 when this novel was written) and it's sticking your head in the sand to portray it that way. It's there, trying to break it down to cartoonish good guys and bad guys simplicity won't make it go away. Not to mention it makes it seem less of an issue than it is and glosses over its shades of grey and those that suffer from it no matter the shade.All in all, a lot of this book was pretty sick. There's murder, rape, abuse, insanity, infidelity and, of course, racism all written very vividly and that's just the first half of the book. I don't really recommend it. Read To Kill a Mockingbird if you want to read a book that gives this issue it's true justice.Favorite Quote: "He scart me," the girl said. Miss Mary nodded and looked over at her in a slow, tired way. "That's your common sense talkin'," she said. "That man scare anybody got common sense."
  • (4/5)
    Riveting from start to finish. Dexter skillfully tells a story that delves into many important issues without ever becoming preachy. The characters are quite memorable, especially Paris Trout. His downward spiral will cause some readers to shudder.
  • (5/5)
    This is the finest book I've read in a long time, and I don't know how it is that I never heard of it until seeing PD speak last month in Oakland (he was reading from a new collection of his columns). I was 25 when it came out so my reading tastes were still "developing" (i.e., not very good.:)I think this is the sort of book which should comprise the new canon, if they even use that word any more, for high school. It's grittier than To Kill a Mockingbird, but more nuanced, too. Having seen PD in person (crusty is the word that comes to mind, along with "hard miles" and worldly-wise and also very kind) it is amazing that he can create such delicate, heart-wrenching human drama.It didn't hurt that the story itself was compelling enough to make the book a page-turner. There is no sin in having an actual plot in a book! More kids would read if we all embraced that thought.Also, I did not find the book at all dated. It's set a few decades ago, but other period books still smack of current attitudes...to me, this one does not. It seemed honest without any shellacking of current views and values.
  • (5/5)
    Excellent book. Writing is unique and the storytelling is different. If you like a book with interesting characters you will like this one.
  • (4/5)
    An interesting and dark look at a man slowly losing it all, at the cost of many around him. Race relations, spousal abuse, murder, and a slow pace make this book gritty & good, but not for everyone.