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The Many Aspects of Mobile Home Living

Cover of The Many Aspects of Mobile Home Living

The Many Aspects of Mobile Home Living

A Novel
In this masterful debut, Martin Clark proves to be the heir apparent of great Southern raconteurs and the envy of more seasoned novelists as he takes us on a frantic tour of the modern south.

Hung over, beaten by the unforgiving sun, bitter at his estranged wife, and dreading the day's docket of petty criminal cases, Judge Evers Wheeling is in need of something on the morning he's accosted by Ruth Esther English. Ruth Esther's strange story certainly is something, and Judge Wheeling finds himself in uncharted territory. Reluctantly agreeing to help Ruth Esther retrieve some stolen money, he recruits his pot-addled brother and a band of merry hangers-on for the big adventure. Raucous road trips, infidelity, suspected killers, winning Lotto tickets, drunken philosophical rants, and at least one naked woman tied to a road sign ensue in The Many Aspects of Mobile Home Living, one part legal thriller, one part murder mystery, and all parts all wild.

From the Trade Paperback edition.
In this masterful debut, Martin Clark proves to be the heir apparent of great Southern raconteurs and the envy of more seasoned novelists as he takes us on a frantic tour of the modern south.

Hung over, beaten by the unforgiving sun, bitter at his estranged wife, and dreading the day's docket of petty criminal cases, Judge Evers Wheeling is in need of something on the morning he's accosted by Ruth Esther English. Ruth Esther's strange story certainly is something, and Judge Wheeling finds himself in uncharted territory. Reluctantly agreeing to help Ruth Esther retrieve some stolen money, he recruits his pot-addled brother and a band of merry hangers-on for the big adventure. Raucous road trips, infidelity, suspected killers, winning Lotto tickets, drunken philosophical rants, and at least one naked woman tied to a road sign ensue in The Many Aspects of Mobile Home Living, one part legal thriller, one part murder mystery, and all parts all wild.

From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Excerpts-
  • Chapter One In 1969, when Evers Wheeling was a boy in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, men in filling-station uniforms still checked your car's oil, pumped high-test gas out of heavy silver nozzles and cleaned your windshield with a spray bottle and a blue, quilted wipe. There was a man named Herman Stovall who worked at the West End Shell, WHERE Evers and his family would stop for fuel and air and little Cokes with peanuts poured into the bottle. Herman was a bent, thin, wispy man, a skeletal bumpkin with a crew cut and big red ears. He could hold an inch-long ash on his cigarette, and he didn't think that astronauts had touched down on the moon and he didn't believe in gorillas, even though they'd been on exhibit in various zoos for over half a century. Herman would give Sundrop caps out of the drink machine and tin Prince Albert cans to Evers and the other kids who visited the station, and he would lean over the greasy cash-register counter to show them cat's-cradle tricks with a loop of grimy brown twine. Evers would take the soda caps home in a paper sack and scratch off the cork on their undersides, trying to win a free pop or a five-dollar bill.

    Herman also did not believe in viruses, whales, the Loch Ness monster or radar that could predict the weather; he warned Evers and everyone else who came onto his one-bay, nuts-and-bolts corner lot to be cautious of easy ruses, sleight of hand and men who wore vests with their suits. "I don't have no time for foolishness," Evers once heard Herman say to a woman with Texas plates while he was fitting a metal spout over a can of motor oil and telling her what he thought about rockets flying through space, traveling from planet to planet. The spout made a wet, slicing sound when it cut through the top of the can, and Herman used the noise to end his sentence.

    Many years later, when Evers first got on the trail of the smiling white shrine, he had become a lot LIKE Herman Stovall. Evers didn't believe in very much at the time, and he was socked in under a long horizon of bloodless indifference as thick as paste; he had the look and air of a cur mother suckling another gang of mongrel babies, her head and side lying flush on the ground, her fur clumped in a few spots, too weary to do much more than shift her eyes and half-ass growl if someone happened by. On the morning that Evers got his first glimpse of the albino mystery, he'd been walking into the sun, scraping down the sidewalk, burping up squalls of alcohol and two-in-the-morning microwave lasagna. He had just passed by a can of garbage spilled in an alley when he thought he heard someone say his name. Evers was dizzy, the sun was sharp and combative, and he was trying hard to get to his office, so he didn't stop moving right away.

    "Judge Wheeling? Sir?"

    Evers looked around for the voice, put up his hand to shade his eyes. "Huh?"

    "Good morning."

    Evers stopped and looked to his left. His balance wasn't all that good when he stood still.

    "Would you come in here, please?" The woman speaking to Evers was a stranger -- beautiful, handsome, well dressed and tan -- and he had a muddled thought that perhaps she was talking to someone else, even though she had called him by name and was looking right at him, smiling. She was standing in front of a coffee shop not far from the courthouse where Evers worked.

    "Me?" Evers looked over his shoulder, then down at his feet on the sidewalk. The woman was so pretty that he did not want to see her face for very long. He dropped and bobbed his head in choppy, pell-mell pecks, up and down and from side to side, LIKE an old bird eating seed, and he put his hands in his pockets, took them out and put them back...
About the Author-
  • A circuit court judge, Martin Clark lives in Stuart, Virginia.

Reviews-
  • Kaye Gibbons "This is a grand, rumbling ride through the world of Evers Wheeling and wild company.... If I did not live such a sheltered existence, this is the book I'd love to write."
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    Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

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