“To grow up a boy in Clarksville in my time,” recalls the narrator of The Ordways, “was to be a double dreamer.” For Clarksville, Texas, was where the Old South met the frontier West and family history retold at the annual graveyard-working day provided the stuff to fuel a young imagination. Here, then, is the story of Thomas Ordway, the narrator’s great-grandfather, who was blinded at Shiloh and moved his family from Tennessee to Texas. Here too is the saga of his grandfather, Sam Ordway, who scoured the vast land of Texas in futile search of his three-year-old son, stolen by his neighbor in 1898.
“Before I could become myself,” the narrator states, “I would first have to live through the lives of those who had produced me.” And so he does, in this affecting, whimsical, superbly written second novel by the author of Home from the Hill.
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