“The Tennis Handsome is a miracle of invention, a fable of sport and lust, all written in a kind of moon-landing English. Barry Hannah is living proof that Stagger Lee goes on stalking the South, still armed, still dangerous.”—Thomas McGuane
If anyone can blend rollicking hilarity, utter eccentricity, lusty adventure, sorrow, and poignancy in a single novel it is Barry Hannah, the author Larry McMurtry has declared “the best fiction-writer to appear in the South since Flannery O’Connor.” The Tennis Handsome spins the raucous tale of four restless sons of Vicksburg, Mississippi: French Edward, the cherubically gorgeous, deeply addled international tennis star; his weirdly devoted and depraved manager, homely Baby Levaster; his coach, Jimmy Word, whose homosexuality is suppressed the day he sets eyes on French’s mother; and the shell-shocked but strangely sane Vietnam vet, Captain Bobby Smith. The Tennis Handsome follows these characters on a wild quest to escape their pasts and end their restlessness, a quest that propels them into one zany, deliberately unbelievable adventure after another. A rape by a walrus, a murder by crossbow, a tennis tournament played at gunpoint—Hannah’s inventiveness sparkles, and his witty, incisive prose shines. As Ivan Gold so aptly wrote in The New York Times Book Review, “Hannah is an original, or if names are to be dropped, Carson McCullers rewritten by Groucho Marx.”
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