Finding Caruso by Kim Barnes

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Seven years separate Buddy from his big brother, Lee, but the boys have always been close, comforting and protecting each other as their father-defeated by poor land and hostile weather-sank deeper into alcohol and rage. When a drink-fueled accident takes not only his life but that of the mother who tried so hard to shield her sons, the boys sell off what little remains of their daddy's tenant farm and leave Oklahoma. It is 1957, and work is still to be had in the logging camps of northern Idaho. But just outside Snake Junction, they stop at a roadhouse; and there, Lee's country-and-western talents get him a job. The two settle in, Lee to his music-and women and drink-and seventeen-year-old Buddy to roaming the landscape, at loose ends until a woman nearly twice his age turns up. Irene Sullivan is a smoky beauty, and Lee makes a play for her. But it is Buddy she wants.

By turns darkly violent and heartbreakingly tender, Finding Caruso is a work of extraordinary emotional power from an astonishingly original writer.

About Kim Barnes

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Kim Barnes is the author of two memoirs-In the Wilderness, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, and Hungry for the World. Her stories and poems have appeared in many literary reviews, including Shenandoah, The Georgia Review, and Folio.
Published February 28, 2003 by Putnam. 320 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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But problems pop up in the subplot involving Wolfchild, particularly in an unlikely series of scenes in which Buddy encounters Wolfchild after hearing rumors that the boy was involved with Irene.

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