Edisto

Edisto

Finalist for the National Book Award: Through the eyes of a precocious twelve-year-old in a seaside South Carolina town, the world of love, sex, friendship, and betrayal blossoms

Simons Everson Manigault is not a typical twelve-year-old boy in tiny Edisto, South Carolina, in the late 1960s. At the insistence of his challenging mother (known to local blacks as “the Duchess”), who believes her son to possess a capacity for genius, Simons immerses himself in great literature and becomes as literate and literary as any English professor.

When Taurus, a soft-spoken African American stranger, moves into the cabin recently vacated by the Manigaults’ longtime maid, a friendship forms. The lonely, excitable Simons and the quiet, thoughtful Taurus, who has appointed himself Simons’s guide in the ways of the grown-up world, bond over the course of a hot Southern summer.

But Taurus may be playing a larger role in the Manigaults’ life than he is willing to let on—a suspicion that is confirmed when Simons’s absent father suddenly returns to the family fold. An evocative, thoughtful novel about growing up, written in language that sparkles and soars, Padgett Powell’s Edisto is the first novel of one of the most important southern writers of the last quarter century.

Praise & Reviews

“A remarkable book….there is not a line that simply slides by; each, in one way or another, turns things to a fresh and unexpected angle. There are splendid things said.”
Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Simons Manigault is brother to all literary adolescents — Mailer’s D.J., Salinger’s Holden Caulfield, Joyce’s Stephen Dedalus…A sparkling read, so full of an energetic intelligence, inventiveness, love of language, and love of people.”
—The New York Times Book Review

“Truly remarkable…It reminds one of The Catcher in the Rye, but it’s better—sharper, funnier, more poignant.”
—Walker Percy

Edisto is a startling book, full of new sights, sounds, and ways of feeling. Mr. Powell weaves wonderful tapestries from ordinary speech; his people, black and white, whether speaking to each other or past each other, tell us things that we never heard before. The book is subtle, daring, and brilliant.”
—Donald Barthelme