Jack Butler: Living in Little Rock with Miss Little Rock



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Was supposed to be a benediction of sorts over the book s proceedings but it just fell short for me I kind of feel bad slamming a fellow Arkansan but the fact that I obtained a signed copy in a thrift store sort of says it all This review first ran on Pretty Fakes way back whenA few days ago I finished the first of my summer reading books Jack Butler s 1993 novel Living in Little Rock with Miss Little Rock I ve started this book probably half a dozen times over the last five or six years only to put it aside when pressing concerns arose at 655 pages you can see where I might have felt a little daunted But I kept coming back to it because I wanted to see if it delivered on the promise of its opening lineHowdy I m the Holy Ghost Talk about your omniscient narratorsAnd I m glad to say that it mostly does Walker Percy once wrote that American novels tend to be about One Con Glory everything and Little Rock is definitely an American novel in that vein This is a novel withverything don t hold the kitchen sink heck buy two and we ll return the one we don t like It s the sort of novel that includes full page mock ups of newspaper obituaries and letters to the Defying Shadows (Rising Shadows editor pages including a letter from the Holy Ghost and Peanuts strips and stream of consciousness passages laid out like a flow chart and a scene in which the author appears as a character but it s not annoying or pretentious Set in Arkansas duh in thearly 1980s it chronicles the adventures of Charles Morrison a wealthy liberal lawyer his wife Lianne a former pageant ueen and TV anchor their various friends and members of Charles law firm and their The Great Orange Leonard Scandal (Tall Tales Series; 4) enemies a crooked top cop and his gang of thugsExcept Exceptxcept Tangled Webs (The Black Jewels, except After one of those thugs is finally busted for committing a hearbreaking crime Butler or rather the Holy Ghost and against His will to boot gives us a peek inside that thug s head and it s so beautiful and touching that you think for ten pages or so that maybe he s been the hero of the book all along In fact that may be Butler s greatest strength as a writer a kind of tragic grace a hyperactivempathy that goes beyond merely repeating the tired old shibboleth about life and shades of gray and instead forces you into the skins of those whom you ve found the most repugnant and revolting holds their A Fairly Honourable Defeat eyes wide open with toothpicks and makes you look through them until the differences upon which you ve based your whole identity and worldview don t dissolvexactly not for Butler the tepid finger food book club conclusions of we re all the same under the skin but rather collapse inward like a black hole inexorably sucking all the matter in the world into you no matter how desperately you fear contact with all this other junk you hold yourself higher than denying you the safe refuges of scorn and disdain in which to hunker down and protect yourself or your Self Reading Butler. Ire lawyer possibly a future governor She's the beautiful x TV newscaster and former Miss Little Rock What begin.

I picked this up while waiting for Jujitsu for Christ to come into the library Butler blends metafiction humor detective fiction and politics into an njoyable whirlwind adventure I don t do well with writing gimmicks Dialect too many narrators winking omnipotent Holy Ghosts breaking the fourth wall clever formatting Elisabeth Shue 135 Success Facts - Everything You Need to Know about Elisabeth Shue etc I think this book was written to annoy me Every time I d start getting into the story ornjoying some character development I d hit a chapter full of gimmick I gave up about 80 pages in when I realized I couldn t take another 600 pages of thatIt s a shame when the story was rolling I liked the characters and the not uite over the The Man Without a Face edge yet craziness inach of them It s obvious this book goes off the rails at some point and I wish I d had the patience to get to anything like the murder mystery it s billed asBut Now I ve created a DNF did not finish shelf So there s that I have now tried twice I just can t get into this book And with so much book so not be able to get into it feels Happy Easter, Mouse! (If You Give...) extra daunting Iven tried a running start the second time skimming through the first 100 or so but it s no use This book and I are just a bad match This book was a huge shock because I in no way Gone (Gone, expected it to touch me in the way it did I wasxpecting a throwaway political comedy with a lot of insider jokes about Arkansas politics and got a moving tragicomedy instead I can t recommend this Threads Of The Shroud enough I don t know what got me on to this book originally It was a long time ago I couldn tven recount the plot for you But I remember sitting out in my friends backyard where I happened to be housesitting and just soaking this one up Probably means it would be a good summer read for you if you like ambitious smart one of a kind novels As a sheer All Seated on the Ground exercise in prose this tastefully decadent portrait of rather privileged life in the American south is not only pleasant to read but deeplyngaging Between the characters arguing sexing and generally Untitled. enjoying their lives they have real problems and deep flaws In other words they are real characters and populate a real world only occasionallyxciting and beautiful than our own I didn t hate this book but there s just so much literature to wade through to get to the interesting parts It s 655 pages and it shouldn t have taken me as long as it did to read but the author insists on showing off his literary aspirations whenever possible You could asily lop 200 pages off of this monster and you wouldn t miss a thing The narrator is the Holy Ghost and our Host with the Most thinks he s the funniest spirit since Beetlejuice So we get interludes during which nothing happens but it takes time to wade through and realize that you ve been literally reading about nothing for 20 minutes Example the last chapter is 19 pages and I wound up skimming it because it made absolutely no sense and had no point It. Narrated by the Holy Ghost this most unusual novel tells the story of Charles and Lianne Morrison He's a milliona.

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Is like seeing the corners of the vision that Mrs Turpin receives at the nd of Flannery O Connor s Revelation a crowd of folks marching to heaven as not just their differences but Jingling Daddys Bells BDSM Menage even their virtues burn away Except Butler writes way sex scenes than O Connor Way way And I love that Little Rock is set in the 80s and devotes long passages to a court battle over creation science being taught in schools and the attempted assassination of Reagan And Butler as the son of a Baptist minister and a former student of Mississippi College absolutely nails a brand of Southern fried faux piety that has probably rankled all of us at some point And the whole thing is funny as hell I read Barry Hannah s Yonder Stands Your Orphan just before I read this and it uickly became apparent to me that this novel was basically Hannah s muse for YSYO which is kind of awesome Both novels start out with a somewhat straightforward narrative this one as a legal drama YSYO as crime fiction but they uicklyvolve into total insanity Living in Little Rock reminds me of a Paul Thomas Anderson movie at times it gets a little punch drunk on the power of its craft and can feel a little overwrought but it ultimately brings an The DOS e Living in Little Rock with Miss Little Rock is a brilliant allncompassing all Against All Odds engaging novel that I can t believe I ve never heard of before since I live near Little Rock From the first few pages all I wanted to do was read this book This imaginative post modern novel impressed me on several levelsFirst I was in love with how gossipy and detailed it is about Little Rock in the 1980s I did not live here then and yet I still recognize a lot of the people s names the storestc I loved having a peek into that world in which many of my friends grew up and livedSecond I thought Butler was really able to depict the complexity of a marriage with great heart and depth He has a lot of compassion for his characters and it was fascinating to look at their relationship through his skilled prose The book is very Sleep, Circadian Rhythms, and Metabolism episodic though it does build to a tragic climax and in many ways the marriage of Charles and Lianne Morrison of Little Rock is the real protagonist of the novel Finally in telling the story of all the characters from the down and outest to the hoity toitiest Little Rock residents thugs to servants to cops to therapists to writers to detectives to lawyers tox beauty ueens Butler displays an appropriate cleverness to illustrate their characters their circumstances their individual lives I laughed out loud often but also felt profoundly moved by almost Treasons, Stratagems, And Spoils every character in the book He uses a variety of points of view including the Holy Ghost s text styles and time jumps to tell a complex story of a communityIf I have a complaint it is that some of the conceits go on too long Some of the meditations could have beendited I think you need concise. S as a soap opera and a whodunit becomes an Payment Due engrossingxamination of the human soul in turmoil Dallas Morning Ne.

From encyclopediaofarkansasnetJack Armand Butler Jr is a poet and novelist known for structurally experimental writing usually dealing with the development of a religious self awareness transcending orthodox views His work is often sexually charged and humorousJack Butler was born May 8 1944 in Alligator Mississippi to Jack Butler a Baptist preacher and Dorothy Butler a homemaker He