Cover image for With
Harington, Donald.
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Publication Information:
New Milford, CT : The Toby Press, 2004.

Physical Description:
491 ; 23 cm
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X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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A sensual, irresistible tale full of unexpected twists and turns in the wilds of the Ozarks, The Boston Globe calls With a life-affirming, surprising, beautifully written novel, and Raleigh News names it the Best Novel of the Year.

Author Notes

Donald Harington was born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas. He spent nearly all of his early summers in the Ozark mountain hamlet of Drakes Creek. He knew at an early age that he wanted to be a writer, but also wanted to be a teacher. He has taught art history at a variety of colleges in New York, New England, South Dakota and finally at his alma mater, the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, where he lectured for approximately 22 years, until his retirement in 2008.

Harington won the Porter Prize in 1987, the Heasley Prize at Lyon College in 1998, was inducted into the Arkansas Writers' Hall of Fame in 1999 and that same year won the Arkansas Fiction Award of Arkansas Library Association. Many of this novels take place in the fictional town of Stay More, which is loosely based on Drakes Creek. Harington died in 2009.

(Publisher Fact Sheets)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Imagine if Larry McMurtry somehow teamed with Laura Ingalls Wilder to craft a postmodern, magical realist fable that dropped her frontier homestead on the outskirts of his modern-day Thalia. That's the neat trick Harington pulls off with this richly imagined, lovingly rendered exploration of the unintended consequences of human--and animal--desire. The story begins on a nightmarish note, with redneck Arkansas highway patrolman Sog Alan abducting eight-year-old Robinerr to a mountaintop hideaway they might never be able to leave. Alan wants to jump Robin's lovely bones, of course, but the narrative gears soon shift from grim to fairy tale. We watch enthralled as Robin forges a hard but wondrous life for herself, complete with Ouija-playing dogs, pet bobcats, and a ghostly young presence that teaches her how to do everything from curing meat to making lye soap. Instead of amping up the peril, this life-affirming saga accentuates the positive at every turn, showcasing the creative solutions Robin and her menagerie--which includes a homebody black bear, a snake, raccoons, and a broad-antlered buck--employ to tackle every problem. Only a keen longing for sex and same-species companionship can pull the maturing girl and her dog from the Eden they've created, setting up a sweetly satisfying resolution. With his delightful twelfth novel, Harington might finally be destined to lose the ironic designation America's greatest unknown novelist. --Frank Sennett Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Transforming a kidnapping plot into an epic rural fable and then a touchingly poignant love story, Harington crafts a wildly imaginative tour de force about a young Arkansas girl who survives a harrowing abduction and undergoes a remarkable series of epiphanies. Robin Kerr is the prepubescent protagonist who is snatched from her single mother by Sog Alan, a former state trooper who takes her to his ramshackle house on the remote pinnacle of Mt. Madewell just outside Harington's beloved mythical village of Stay More. Her kidnapper's illness and impotence keep Robin from being ravaged, and she capitalizes on Sog Alan's twisted love for her to carve out a bizarre existence with her abductor, aided by Sog's dog, Hreapha, who is given a singular voice of her own. Sog Alan's failing health eventually weakens him, and Robin is able to shoot him during a final rape attempt. Her efforts to escape the mountain prove futile, though, and she slowly adapts to a hardscrabble backwoods existence, aided by a growing menagerie of pets that eventually includes a bobcat and a bear cub. Robin also receives advice from the spirit of 12-year-old Adam Madewell, the son of a cooper whose family owned the land before moving to California. Wary of civilization, Robin chooses to stay on the mountain even when she has the opportunity to leave, and her pristine rural existence remains uninterrupted until love comes in the form of the middle-aged Adam Madewell, who returns to Arkansas after a successful but unfulfilling stint as a California cooper and winemaker. Harington's taut storytelling lends edgy suspense to the kidnapping story, and the combination of wise, comic animal voices and Adam's disembodied incarnation adds life to the pastoral narrative. Harington has invented a unique post-Faulknerian piece of fictional terrain in his Stay More novels, and this powerful effort should further enhance his reputation as one of the great undiscovered novelists of our time. (Apr.) Forecast: Harington has yet to catch on with a wider readership, and this long, rather daunting novel is unlikely to break him out, despite its merits. Still, With does provide critics with an excellent opportunity to survey Harington's Stay More novels, and a few enthusiastic reviews could make all the difference. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved