9780837604220 / 0837604222

Tobacco Road


Publisher:Bentley Pub



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About the book:

Enormously popular in the 1930s and 1940s, Erskine Caldwell brought to millions of Americans his bawdy, forcefully written, grimly comic stories of injustice and human irrationality, set chiefly in the South. "Tobacco Road" remains the book for which he is best remembered. Jeeter Lester and his wife, Ada, live in a decaying cabin with his silent mother and two of their fifteen children, the hare-lipped Ellie May and her sixteen-year-old brother Dude. When Lov Bensey, married to Jeeter's twelve-year-old daughter, arrives to seek his father-in-law's help in getting his child-wife to speak to him and sleep with him, Jeeter regards the visit as an opportunity to steal the turnips Lov carries in his sack. Times are hard in Georgia and tenant farmers like Jeeter are unable to get the credit needed to acquire seed cotton and fertilizer, let alone money for food. With a rich sense of folk humor and measured vulgarity, Caldwell continues the story of the Lesters: the diversional act of the disfigured Ellie May seducing Lov, allowing her family to steal the turnips; the widow of the local fundamentalist clergy, forty-year-old Sister Bessie Rice, believing that God has directed her to marry the simpleton Dude; and the starving of Jeeter's old, toothless mother. All are part of Caldwell's stark commentary on the social inequities facing these characters and the people like them living an abject existence.

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