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Lookaway, Lookaway

A Novel

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


One of Slate's and Kirkus Review's Best Books of 2013 and The New York Times, National Public Radio, and Indie Bound bestseller: "Lookaway, Lookaway is a wild romp through the South, and therefore the history of our nation, written by an absolute ringmaster of fiction." —Alice Sebold, New York Times bestselling author of The Lovely Bones

Jerene Jarvis Johnston and her husband Duke are exemplars of Charlotte, North Carolina's high society, where old Southern money—and older Southern secrets—meet the new wealth of bankers, boom-era speculators, and carpetbagging social climbers. Steely and implacable, Jerene presides over her family's legacy of paintings at the Mint Museum; Duke, the one-time college golden boy and descendant of a Confederate general, whose promising political career was mysteriously short-circuited, has settled into a comfortable semi-senescence as a Civil War re-enactor. Jerene's brother Gaston is an infamously dissolute bestselling historical novelist who has never managed to begin his long-dreamed-of literary masterpiece, while their sister Dillard is a prisoner of unfortunate life decisions that have made her a near-recluse.

As the four Johnston children wander perpetually toward scandal and mishap. Annie, the smart but matrimonially reckless real estate maven; Bo, a minister at war with his congregation; Joshua, prone to a series of gay misadventures, and Jerilyn, damaged but dutiful to her expected role as debutante and eventual society bride. Jerene must prove tireless in preserving the family's legacy, Duke's fragile honor, and what's left of the dwindling family fortune. She will stop at nothing to keep what she has—but is it too much to ask for one ounce of cooperation from her heedless family?

In Lookaway, Lookaway, Wilton Barnhardt has written a headlong, hilarious narrative of a family coming apart, a society changing beyond recognition, and an unforgettable woman striving to pull it all together.
A Kirkus Reviews Best Fiction Book of 2013

From Publishers Weekly

Jul 01, 2013 – North Carolina native Barnhardt s frothy, satirical latest (after Show World) is Southern gothic at its most decadent and dysfunctional. With each chapter dedicated to a different character one more self-indulgent and flawed than the last the sprawling saga of an esteemed clan s fall from grace and fortune spools out in fits and starts. Some members are more emotionally complex (and therefore more entertaining to read about) than others. The sections devoted to the four flailing Johnston kids including spoiled college co-ed Jerilyn s drivel about her sorority-pledging shenanigans (think wanton lewd behavior including a tired sex-with-a-sheep joke) delve into too much repetitive, perhaps excessive, detail. But the adults pick up the slack, chiefly Gaston a bestselling author of Civil War themed potboilers, who has a potty mouth, gobs of cash, and a weakness for hard liquor and prostitutes, and his sister, Jerene, the unflappable matriarch and distillation of rich-white-lady force who could eat her social inferiors for hors d oeuvres. (Her hilarious one-liners are standouts.) As the scandals pile up, including a raucous Christmas dinner showdown, and a hoot of a finale that s pure shock and awe, this mess of a family has nowhere left to go but up well, not if they can help it.

Customer Reviews

A difficult read

The Civil War is a main character in this book, making it a difficult read. It would seem the author wanted us to know he had done his homework, and there were pages and pages of Civil War history and trivia that did not advance the plot.

Makes me want to take a writing class from this gifted author

Wonderful book.

Lookaway quick and don't bother...

I had hoped this would get better but never went past slow. It was hard to read each chapter detailing mostly one person and then the next on to someone else.

The ending was abrupt and strange.

I would not recommend this to anyone.

Lookaway, Lookaway
View in iTunes
  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Aug 20, 2013
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Seller: Macmillan
  • Print Length: 368 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings