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The rugged and mysterious mountains of Kingdom County are the setting for Howard Frank Mosher's brilliant new autobiographical novel, The Fall of the Year. Like Mosher's acclaimed earlier novels, The Fall of the Year celebrates the fiercely independent people of Kingdom Common, including such memorable new characters as Foster Boy Dufresne, the local bottle picker and metaphysical savant; the incomparably strange clairvoyant and matchmaker, Louvia the Fortuneteller; Dr. Sam E. Rong, a wayfaring Chinese herbalist and connoisseur of human nature; the itinerant vaudevillian mind reader, Mr. Moriarity Mentality, who uses his unusual powers to teach the town fathers a lesson they will never forget; and the daredevil tomboy, Molly Murphy, who risks her life twice in a single day to fulfill her dream of running away with the Last Railway Extravaganza and Greatest Little Show on Earth. At the heart of The Fall of the Year are Kingdom County's baseball-playing, trout-fishing "unorthodox priest," Father George Lecoeur, his adopted son and protegé, Frank Bennett, and two interlocking love stories unlike any others in contemporary fiction. Written in Howard Frank Mosher's distinctively wry and ironical voice, with the straight-ahead narrative action that characterizes all his fiction, The Fall of the Year is a celebration of love in all its forms, from friendship to the most passionate romance, in a place where family, community, vocation, and the natural world still matter profoundly.
About the Author
HOWARD FRANK MOSHER is the author of ten books, including Waiting for Teddy Williams, The True Account, and A Stranger in the Kingdom, which, along with Disappearances, was corecipient of the New England Book Award for fiction. He lives in Vermont.
Praise for The Fall of the Year…
A usual cast of rural eccentrics peoples the latest from Vermont writer Mosher (Northern Borders, 1994, etc.), as he highlights a crucial summer for an orphan boy whos come home from college in the 1950s to prepare himself for the seminary. In little Kingdom Common, the heart of Kingdom County, young Frank Bennett sees that not much has changed while he was away, except that foul-mouthed, ballplaying Father George, the hotheaded priest who raised him, has lost much of his fire. A series of tasks the ailing priest has set out for Frank charts the course of the summer, starting with attempts to rein in the free-spirited village idiot,' who talks to his shadow, tries to kiss a moose on a bet, and finally vanishes from town in a blizzard. Frank's efforts meet with similar success when hes charged with overseeing a blithe young daredevil, a redheaded Irish girl excited to new heights by the arrival of a traveling circusshe upstages the acrobats on the flying trapeze and then runs off with the show. A darker side of life is reflected in Franks trip to Staten Island to visit the former owner of the Land of the Free Emporium, a Chinese man run out of town by those feeling the pinch of his entrepreneurial prosperity. And when an absent-minded Mr. Mentality comes to Kingdom Common to do a mind-reading show, his rage at not receiving his full fee translates into a terrifying public display of all the town's secrets. But the real story of the summer involves the local fortuneteller and a girl with laughing eyes who becomes Father George's housekeeper, and whose face Frank cannot put out of his mind. Capraesque storytelling bursting with juice and flavor, a novel as charming as it is colorful, even if it is at times a bit too predictable. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP.
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