True Hope by Frank Manley
A Novel

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In True Hope Frank Manley eloquently limns the mysteries of the soul with the story of a man named Al, whose life has been defined by marriage, drunkenness, and prison—in that order. When he is released from prison for good behavior, sobered up and in search of salvation, he does a short stint in a halfway house, then heads for the small town in Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains where Tom, his father-in-law, lives. Tom is an odd duck, with pyromaniacal tendencies, but he’s the only thing Al has left of Kate, his beloved wife, whose death haunts him still. Tom and Al are a hapless pair, and they proceed to get themselves in a whole lot of trouble together. All the while, Al is courting Laurie, whose soul is as lost as his. They find solace in each other’s company and make plans for the future. When these plans go disastrously awry, Al experiences a spiritual epiphany that changes his life. True Hope is a story of gut-wrenching brutality and wholehearted compassion, told tenderly, with humor, in powerful, unadorned prose.

About Frank Manley

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He was raised in Atlanta & educated at Emory University & Johns Hopkins University. He taught at Yale before returning to Emory, where he is the Charles Howard Candler Professor Renaissance Literature. He has received two Guggenheim Fellowships & has published books on John Donne & St. Thomas More.
Published April 10, 2002 by Carroll & Graf. 320 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Al, however, at last lonely for female company, takes up with Laurie, a part-time prostitute whose husband left her, taking their baby with him, and hasn’t much time for Tom.

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Publishers Weekly

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Al is hired to paint houses for Benny and is eventually sent to help Tom evict an itinerant couple renting one of the properties, but Tom goes berserk and torches the house, so Benny gives Al the responsibility of keeping the older man in line.

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