Books by Mississippi Writers 1996-2010
A Novel by Lewis Nordan Algonquin Books (Hardcover, $18.95, ISBN: 1565120841, 6/1997; Paperback, $10.95, ISBN: 1565122208, 10/1998) Every time lightning strikes in Lewis Nordan's novel, strange things happen. Lightning strikes, and an old man dies; lightning strikes again and he comes back to life; love affairs begin and end amid the perilous crackle of electrical storms. Young Leroy Dearman inhabits a flat, Mississippi landscape punctuated by singing llamas, wild dogs, and his own eccentric family members: a grandfather who drinks poison, a mother obsessed with the kidnapped Italian politician Aldo Moro, an uncle who seduces his mother, and a father infatuated with an Indian maiden. Leroy himself is tortured by erotic fantasies involving a buxom high school baton twirler. His torment is hardly eased when he discovers his uncle's cache of skin magazines. When the baton-twirling Circe finally makes Leroy's dreams come true lightning strikes. All of this could become a cartoon version of rural Southern life in the hands of a less accomplished writer. But Lewis Nordan hits all the right notes in Lightning Song, delving beneath surface eccentricity to expose the loneliness, the confusion, and the longing for love that dwell in the heart of every character. Funny and sad, its atmosphere as emotionally charged as the air just before a thunderstorm, Lightning Song is a rare and wonderful read.