Padgett Powell's first book, a classic coming of age novel with a unique and memorable hero
About the book
Simons Everson Manigault ('You say it "Simmons". I'm a rare one-m Simons') lives with his mother, an eccentric professor known as the Duchess, on an isolated strip of South Carolina coast. Convinced that her son can be a writer of genius, the Duchess has immersed Simons in the literary classics since birth and has given him free rein to gather materials in such spots as the Baby Grand, a local black nightclub.Although possessed of a vocabulary and sophistication beyond his years, Simons feels the normal adolescent bewilderment about the behaviour of his parents. His conventional father, the Progenitor, has recently left the family in a dispute over Simons' upbringing and has moved to nearby Hilton Head, where he would like to see his son raised in the orthodox surroundings of condominiums, country clubs and private schools. So the Duchess brings in Taurus, an enigmatic father-surrogate who tutors the boy in the art of watching the world without presumption.
Truly remarkable ... both as a narrative and in its extraordinary use of language. It reminds one of The Catcher in the Rye, but it`s better-sharper, funnier, and more poignant
A remarkable book ... there is not a line that simply slides by; each, in one way or another, turns things to a fresh and unexpected angle. There are splendid things said
Sly, pungent, lyric, funny, and unlikely to be forgotten
A tour de force ... I found myself increasingly charmed by the book`s wit and impressed by its originality. Some turn of phrase, some flash of humor, some freshly observed detail, some accurately rendered perception of a child`s pain or a child`s amazement transfigures nearly every page. Powell`s ear is acute: one of the pleasures of the book is his ability to catch the nuances of Southern speech, whether it is the malicious conversation of the Doctor`s academic colleagues at a cocktail party or the genial banter of country folks at the fishing pier
Simons Manigault is brother to all literary adolescents-Mailer`s D.J., Salinger`s Holden Caufield, Joyce`s Stephen Dedalus ... Edisto is a sparkling read, so full of an energetic intelligence, inventiveness, love of language, and love of people ... Padgett Powell is an extravagantly talented writer