In this masterful debut, Martin Clark proves to be the heir apparent of great Southern raconteurs and the envy of more seasoned novelists as he takes us on a frantic tour of the modern south.
Hung over, beaten by the unforgiving sun, bitter at his estranged wife, and dreading the day’s docket of petty criminal cases, Judge Evers Wheeling is in need of something on the morning he's accosted by Ruth Esther English. Ruth Esther's strange story certainly is something, and Judge Wheeling finds himself in uncharted territory. Reluctantly agreeing to help Ruth Esther retrieve some stolen money, he recruits his pot-addled brother and a band of merry hangers-on for the big adventure. Raucous road trips, infidelity, suspected killers, winning Lotto tickets, drunken philosophical rants, and at least one naked woman tied to a road sign ensue in The Many Aspects of Mobile Home Living, one part legal thriller, one part murder mystery, and all parts all wild.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Clark, a circuit court judge in Virginia, has written a sophisticated legal thriller that is closer to the drug-besotted dadaism of Tom McGuane's early novels than to John Grisham. Evers Wheeling is a judge living in the small town of Norton, N.C. His wife, Jo Miller, refuses to visit him there; she lives, instead, on a farm Evers bought her near Durham. Evers and his brother, Pascal, inherited a fortune, but Pascal dissipated his share rapidly because "you're only young once, but you can be immature forever." One hungover morning, Evers is confronted by enigmatic Ruth Esther English, a used-car saleswoman with an inexplicable peculiarity: she cries white alabaster tears ("small bright circles... like a row of marble dimes") when she offers Evers money to intervene in favor of her brother, Artis, who is up on a cocaine possession charge. Artis holds a clue that would allow Ruth Esther to locate $100,000 hidden after a robbery committed by Ruth, Artis and their late foster father. In a separate development, Evers, acting on a tip, discovers Jo Miller in flagrante with a local farmer. Egged on by Pascal's pot-smoking friends, Evers takes up with Ruth Esther and her lawyer, Pauletta Lightwren Qwai. Among Evers's less charming qualities are his bigotry and sexism, but Pauletta, a black activist, is attracted by some buried decency in the judge. As the couple lurch toward romance, Evers is mired in ever more shattering discoveries--the worst of which involves his wife and his brother. When Evers's vicious divorce trial is interrupted by violent death, Clark expertly causes Evers's own story and Ruth Esther's case to converge, delivering an enthralling mix of Southern gothic excess and legal procedure. BOMC and QPB alternate selection.