Cover image for What else but home : a novel
What else but home : a novel
Rolens, Sharon, 1932-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Bridgehampton, N.Y. : Bridge Works Pub., [2003]

Physical Description:
301 pages ; 23 cm
General Note:
Sequel to: Worthy's town.
Geographic Term:
Format :


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This book is the story of the struggle for reconciliation by three men who return to their changed hometown along very different paths-Cappy Giberson from journalism school, Drayton Hunt, his biological father, from prison, and Tick Giberson from a traveling evangelist's life.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Rolens returns to the small town of Old Kane, Illinois, in this equally charming follow-up to her delightful debut novel, Worthy's Town (2000). The year is 1948, and Cappy Giberson has returned home to Old Kane after three years of college. His grandfather, Worthy, who raised Cappy as his son, is happy to have him back, but he's also worried because Drayton Hunt, Cappy's disreputable father, has just been released from jail and has also returned to Old Kane. Drayton is determined to change; he gets a job with the undertaker and seeks out the town's Baptist preacher, the Reverend Marcus Smith. Cappy still won't have anything to do with Drayton, despite Drayton's overtures. Cappy hunts for a job as a reporter and eventually finds a freelance job with a St. Louis paper that will allow him to solve a crime and bring about an unlikely reconciliation. As warm and enjoyable as its predecessor, Rolens' second novel is a pitch-perfect depiction of small-town life. --Kristine Huntley Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this follow-up to Worthy's Town, the men of the Giberson family grapple with old demons and the complicated ties of blood in post-World War II Old Kane, Ill. Drayton Hunt, a born-again ex-convict, returns to Old Kane intent on preaching and creating a new life for himself after three years in prison. His biological son, Cappy, who was raised by his maternal grandfather, Worthy, also comes home from college to pursue his dreams of making it as a journalist. He begins writing a series of stories for a St. Louis newspaper about the rural eccentricities of an Illinois farm town and romances the young Oleeta Hetzel. Meanwhile, Worthy's son, Tick Giberson, abandons his life as an evangelist (and soured homosexual relationship with a preacher), and makes his way back to Old Kane to reconcile with the father he abandoned. The men's convergence creates significant tension as they resurrect the long-buried crimes and faults that fractured the family. Tragedy clouds their pasts: the deaths of Worthy's wife and Cappy's best friend linger years after their passing. The stories of the sad, lost Giberson men are unevenly developed, but Old Kane comes alive through a colorful cast of secondary characters (a waitress with a secret, wayward preachers, the lumbago-afflicted sheriff), and Rolens's re-creation of rural postwar America is honest and warm. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Rolens's second novel continues the saga of a small, post-World War II Illinois town begun in Worthy's Town, a finalist for Barnes & Noble's Discover Great New Writers Award in 2000. In this installment, Drayton Hunt returns to Old Kane after three years in prison. Rolens tells us, in terms as explicit as stage directions, that he is looking for "his son, born to a teenaged girl, who refused to acknowledge him as his father. Drayton hoped to bring about a reconciliation and end twenty-three years of estrangement." That the reviewer can pull a direct quote from page two to summarize the plot highlights the novel's major flaw: Rolens tells rather than reveals, offering no suspense, just a meandering set of events. Still, many readers will look past the workaday prose and immerse themselves in this community of quirky and perverse characters. While Drayton struggles with the straight life, the novel's main protagonist, Worthy's grandson Cap (Drayton's son), returns from college determined to become a writer. Meanwhile, his uncle Tick, a lapsed charismatic preacher, is wandering home after escaping from a homosexual relationship. And that's just the start. For popular fiction collections.-Reba Leiding, James Madison Univ. Libs., Harrisonburg, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.