Read below to learn more in a note from Larry about his visit:
My appearance is part of a national book tour for my novel, A GOOD MAN. A synopsis is at the end of this note, along with a few absolutely accurate blurbs from writers who might or might not be friends of mine. I will speaking at the home of Flannery O’Connor in Milledgeville, GA, shortly before my stop in Ashland, and I will be appearing at the Virginia Book Festival on March 19-20.
In addition to the reading, the event will be filmed or photographed as part of a full-length documentary about the book business. I would like to get as many Virginia faces in the film as possible. My only admonition? If you are in the Federal Witness Protection Program, you might consider not attending.
Thanks for your consideration, and I hope to see you there.
Early Praise for
A GOOD MAN
In Harry Ducharme, the hero of A GOOD MAN, Larry Baker has created a main character as memorable and complex as John Updike’s Rabbit Angstrom or Richard Ford’s Frank Bascombe. Not since Robert Stone’s A Hall of Mirrors have we been this privy to the troubled soul of a disc jockey. Fans of Baker’s previous novels won’t be disappointed while readers new to his work will be bowled over.–John McNally, author of Ghosts of Chicago and The Book of Ralph
Let me get this straight. Larry Baker takes a character from a Harry Chapin song, a character from a Flannery O’Connor short story, morphs them into a completely new character named Harry Ducharme who is totally unique, but the same? How did he do that? A GOOD MAN is surely the most brilliantly original and entertaining story I’ve read in years. And the ending? Shockingly surprising but also the only possible conclusion? How did he do that? Every reader will love the humor and social insights about America in the Bush years. For me, however, it was the sad realization that Baker’s Harry Ducharme was in love with a woman who did not love him. He deserved better. Still, A GOOD MAN is funny, bittersweet, and unforgettable.———–Patty Friedmann, author of Eleanor Rushing and Secondhand Smoke
Larry Baker’s A GOOD MAN updates the world of Flannery O’Connor’s characters through the Bush years and into the age of Obama. Fans of O’Connor’s fiction will be intrigued by Baker’s imaginative reunion, in the home of the fountain of youth, of Bevel Summers with a very grown-up Harry from O’Connor’s “The River.” Without imitating O’Connor, Baker does serious honor to her legacy.——Marshall Bruce Gentry, Editor, Flannery O’Connor Review, Georgia College & State University
A Good Man
Harry Ducharme is at the end of his rope. Booze and bad decisions have taken him from the A-list of talk-radio fame down to a tiny cinder-block station, WWHD in St. Augustine, Florida. He talks mostly to himself from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., not sure anybody is listening, reading books and poetry that he likes, not caring if anyone agrees with him, playing golden-oldies from the Sixties, and wondering how he got there.
Then, as a hurricane pounds north Florida, with WWHD broadcasting to a town without electricity, Harry gets a visitor just as the eye of the hurricane passes over. An old black man who calls himself a Prophet wants to borrow a Walt Whitman poem that Harry read the night before. The Prophet wants “A Noiseless Patient Spider” to be the core of his next sermon, in which he announces the imminent arrival of a New Child of God. Harry is a bit skeptical.
A Good Man thus opens between the heaves of a hurricane and ends on Election night-2008 with the revelation of that Child. Or perhaps not. Still, Harry is there, in the parking lot of a football stadium, surrounded by thousands of pilgrims, as witness to and participant in one final act of death and redemption that might be a sign of the beginning, or the end.
The story weaves back and forth in time, revealing the history of an orphan named Harry Ducharme. From Iowa farm to Florida beach, Harry is finally surrounded by men and women with their own burdens to carry. Captain Jack Tunnel is the morning host, more rightwing than Rush, with a cranky co-host parrot named Jimmy Buffett, but also with a gentle secret life. Nora James is the mysterious “cooking woman” who broadcasts from her home kitchen, but whom nobody has ever seen. Nora cooks on-air and discusses women’s issues. Harry spends his first year in town trying to find her, only to discover that Nora’s whereabouts are a communal secret, revealed only to a select few. Carlos Friedmann has the 2–6 a.m. slot, a fourth-generation Jewish Cuban who cannot speak Spanish, but whose forte is to broadcast fake interviews with Fidel Castro. Friedmann’s great desire is to kill and cook the parrot Jimmy Buffett.
Harry had arrived in St. Augustine in November of 2000. Living in America’s oldest city, Harry reveals profound insights into American politics and history throughout A Good Man. Eventually, his role in the New Child’s arrival becomes intertwined with contemporary politics, Iraq, 9/11, old-time religion, and classic literature from writers like Flannery O’Connor and Emily Dickinson, as well as the music of Harry Chapin.