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Preston Clearwater has been a criminal since stealing two chain saws and 1,600 pairs of aviator sunglasses from the army during the Second World War. Back on the road in postwar North Carolina, now a member of a car-theft ring, he picks up hitchhiking Henry Dampier, an innocent twenty-year-old Bible salesman. Clearwater immediately recognizes Henry as smart but gullible, just the associate he needs--one who will believe Clearwater is working undercover for the F.B.I.; one who will drive the cars Clearwater steals as Clearwater follows along in his own car at a safe distance. Henry joyfully sees a chance to lead a dual life as a Bible salesman and a G-man.
During his hilarious and scary adventures, Henry grapples with doubts about the Bible's accuracy, and we learn of his fundamentalist upbringing, an upbringing that doesn't prepared him for his new life. As he falls in love with the captivating Marleen Green and questions his religious training, Henry begins to see he's being used--that he is on his own in a way he never imagined.
About the Author
Clyde Edgerton was born in Durham, North Carolina. He is the author of eight previous novels, including, Walking Across Egypt and Lunch at the Piccadilly. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow, and five of his novels have been New York Times Notable Books. Edgerton teaches creative writing at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and is a member of the Fellowship of Souther Writers. He lives in Wilmington with his wife, Kristina, and their children.
Praise for The Bible Salesman…
"As much as the crime story takes center stage here, it's in these extended flashbacks to Dampier's history that Edgerton shows some of his best writing: quick, nostalgic glimpses of a lost era, told mainly from a child's wide-eyed perspective-but infused with a master storyteller's understanding of the adult world as well.... Warm and winning."
-Raleigh Metro Magazine
"Edgerton is a master of not only describing small-town life, but also of making the reader long for it...Edgerton has great affection for his characters, and while he makes us laugh at their eccentricities, he also provides his readers with enough substance and vulnerability to fall in love with them....one great joy ride."
-The News & Observer (Raleigh)
"Clyde Edgerton's funniest in years."
-Star News Online (Wilmington)
"In this comedic novel, Edgerton, the author of seven best sellers, gives us a satisfying twist on the coming-of-age tale."
"The influences of Mark Twain and James Thurber color The Bible Salesman...With intoxicating Southern-fried humor that's both warm and biting, Edgerton's latest is a breezy crowd-pleaser that will certainly expand his already large and loyal readership."
-Western North Carolina Magazine
"A breezy and sometimes humorous yarn."
-The Wall Street Journal
"Achingly poignant and ripsnortingly funny...The Bible Salesman is so sweet and funny that its darker themes of death, abandonment, existential uncertainty and the impermanence of human relations sneak up quietly on the reader."
-The News & Observer
"Hilarious...beyond the violence and beyond the laugh-out-loud humor, this story of a boy who becomes a man is, in Edgerton's hands, a true tale of redemption. It's not a spoiler to say that, by novel's end, Henry is indeed saved, though not by any illusions fed to him in Sunday School."
"If you've ever read any of Clyde Edgerton's wonderful books, you know the characters rule supreme. The same remains true of his newest novel, The Bible Salesman... The character you'll remember most is a recently passed-away cat named Bunny."
"Clyde Edgerton's storytelling is sublime....The Bible Salesman is a deeply satisfying novel, and great fun."
-The Post and Courier (Charleston, SC)
"Edgerton mines the orthodoxy of his youth in rural North Carolina to find humor in an awkward young man wrestling with the temptations."
-The Roanoke Times
"An escapist romp at heart, perfect for a lazy summer's afternoon."
"There are immense pleasures in the tales patched together in "The Bible Salesman" - tales that could have been spun on the front porch of a late summer North Carolina night."
-The Washington Post
"A rollicking, rambling road novel...one of the better takes on the Southern bible salesman buddy stories since Moses Prey and Addie Prey in Paper Moon."
"The Bible Salesman skillfully employs all the devices its author has honed over the years-a fine ear for dialogue, a love for the South and its people, and a gently modulated wit-to produce another winner."
"Hilarious. . . The Bible Salesman combines the sweet and funny stories of growing up in the South with the humorous and frightening adventures of a life of crime."
"Irresistible...Edgerton is a master of comic timing, and The Bible Salesman is a font of wildly creative comedy."
-Richmond Times Dispatch