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Little Hometown, America
CG FEWSTON , author

Adult; General Fiction (including literary and historical); (Market)

GOLD Winner in the 2020 Human Relations Indie Book Awards for Contemporary Realistic Fiction

FINALIST in the SOUTHWEST REGIONAL FICTION category of the 14th Annual National Indie Excellence 2020 Awards (NIEA)

LITTLE HOMETOWN, AMERICA

“Readers of The Catcher in the Rye and similar stories will relish the astute, critical inspection of life that makes Little Hometown, America a compelling snapshot of contemporary American life and culture.”

“Highly recommended reading for literary readers who enjoy coming-of-age stories and reflects on the memories that influence future generations.”

“Intrinsically wound within the evolution of American society and experience, Cody’s journey will resonate with novel readers who enjoy blends of social and psychological inspection.”

~ D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

“A national struggle that is ever timely…”

“Bolstered by psychology and far-ranging philosophy,” the American novel depicts a family saga portraying the “Norman Rockwell version of an American idyll… steeped in issues of social class and mobility.”

Lone Star Literary Life

“Fewston’s lyrical, nostalgia-steeped story is told from the perspective of a 40-year-old man gazing back on events from his 1980s Texas childhood…. the narrator’s lived experiences come across as wholly personal, deeply felt, and visceral.”

~ The BookLife Prize 2020

Little HometownAmerica (2020) gets its direct inspiration and title from LOOK HOMEWARD, ANGEL (1929) by Thomas Wolfe (1900-1938). It’s Wolfe’s first novel, one of author CG FEWSTON’s favorite books, and is considered a highly autobiographical American coming-of-age story. 

More about the book…

An epic saga of growing up in 1980s America. Little HometownAmerica is an American realist novel that chronicles a cast of characters living in Texas creating dramatic encounters between modern life and mythology.

While exploring a harsh but beautiful reality in a historical setting of small-town America, the narrative of Little HometownAmerica shows the intricate details of multiple characters in their unique journeys dealing with love, death, family, despair, spirituality and friendship.

“The American novelist CG FEWSTON tells a satisfying tale, bolstered by psychology and far-ranging philosophy, calling upon Joseph Campbell, J. D. Salinger, the King James Bible, and Othello.”

“In this way, the author lends intellectual heft to a family story, exploring the “purity” of art, the “corrupting” influences of publishing, the solitary artist, and the messy interconnectedness of human relationships.”

Lone Star Literary Life magazine book review

The forty-year adventure of angst and alienation describes the superficiality of society and tells of what it’s like for one white-American, multi-generational Texan struggling as a boy, born crippled and poor, to become what some critics call an “everyman,” (the L.A. culture critic Mary McNamara described the typical American “everyman” as being “male, white, Christian, physically able, mentally stable, financially sound and essentially kind,”) all the while dealing with poverty and its shame, unexpected deaths of close friends and family, and the challenge to love while trying to make an honest living from writing.

Evoking suffering misfortunes and arousing sympathy, the novel Little HometownAmerica reveals a saga based on true events of a boy growing up in a small Texas town in the 1980s and the man he will one day become to travel the world, which will lead to a self-awakening and fantastical end, like Holden Caulfield, in New York’s Central Park.

About the Author

The American novelist CG FEWSTON has been a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy in Rome (Italy), a Visiting Fellow at Hong Kong’s CityU, & he’s a member of the Hemingway Society, Club Med, and the Royal Society of Literature. He’s also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) based in London. He has a B.A. in English, an M.Ed. in Higher Education Leadership (honors), an M.A. in Literature (honors), and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing & Fiction. He was born in Texas in 1979.

He’s the author of several short stories and novels. His works include A Father’s Son (2005), The New AmericaA Collection (2007), The Mystic’s Smile ~ A Play in 3 Acts (2007), Vanity of Vanities (2011), A Time to Love in Tehran (2015), Little Hometown, America (2020).

Plot/Idea: 7 out of 10
Originality: 6 out of 10
Prose: 8 out of 10
Character/Execution: 8 out of 10
Overall: 7.25 out of 10

Assessment:

Plot: Fewston's lyrical, nostalgia-steeped story is told from the perspective of a 40-year-old man gazing back on events from his 1980s Texas childhood.

Prose: Little Hometown, America is told through eloquent, if at times effusive, prose. The author's tone can at times become overly wistful, when the otherwise sharp recollections are sufficiently moving.

Originality: Though the novel's focus on formative childhood moments is familiar, the narrator's lived experiences come across as wholly personal, deeply felt, and visceral.

Character/Execution: Through the benefit of hindsight, the narrator movingly conveys and interprets the greater meanings behind childhood memories. Family members and friends are vividly rendered.

 

Date Submitted: August 20, 2020

Reviews
Lone Star Literary Life Magazine

Cody grew up in Brownwood, Texas, during the 1980s and ΚΌ90s. Even though he was born with a clubfoot and used crutches for much of his early life, his childhood appeared to feature the Norman Rockwell version of an American idyll. Cody whiled away the days with school, baseball, church choir, facing down the high dive at the community swimming pool, barbecue at Underwood’s.

However, the separation and divorce of their parents exposes the rot beneath the surface and creates a schism with profound, lifelong effects for Cody and his siblings.  

Little Hometown, America is the sixth book from CG Fewston. Inspired by real events in the author’s life, this novel is a family saga, the coming-of-age story of a small-town-America boy learning the hard lessons of life—the truths and the myths and, most difficult, that the circumstances and events that shape our lives, which are experienced by us individually as anomalous dramas, are mostly unexceptional. But in the learning, we come to understand that we are not alone precisely because we are not extraordinary.

The story begins with an arresting post-Sunday-lunch scene. The family has finished lunch at a restaurant (which they cannot afford) and stopped by a city park before going home.  Gwendolen, Cody’s mother, walks off alone, slips off her wedding ring, and throws it into the river. “God, Gwendolen,” Cody’s father, Henry, says to his wife; this is the refrain of Cody’s childhood. So many complicated family dynamics are conveyed in those two words. The family’s struggles with “poverty and shame” and their after-effects speak to a story steeped in issues of social class and mobility, a national struggle that is ever timely.

The device used to tell the story of Little Hometown, America is a middle-aged Cody discussing a new book with his editor as he gazes across the New York City skyline on a chilly, stormy day. He is now forty-something and a published author, living in Hong Kong with a wife and baby son. Cody has transformed his life and exponentially improved upon any future most people in a provincial town and culture (“that black hole we teens had nicknamed ‘Deadwood’”) can expect, yet he is enmeshed in the existential angst of a mid-life crisis. He used to believe that his writing would “save” himself and his sister Cassandra, but now he’s not so sure.

The American novelist CG Fewston tells a satisfying tale, bolstered by psychology and far-ranging philosophy, calling upon Joseph Campbell, J. D. Salinger, the King James Bible, and Othello. In this way, the author lends intellectual heft to a family story, exploring the “purity” of art, the “corrupting” influences of publishing, the solitary artist, and the messy interconnectedness of human relationships.

Readers of Little Hometown, America can be comforted when they find they have much in common with Cody and his family and the hard lesson that the good ol’ days “hadn’t been all that good and [he’d] been far too young to know better.” Therein lies hope in commonality.

Midwest Book Review

Little Hometown, America is set in a small town in 1980s Texas. It follows the coming of age of a cast of characters who surround a boy on the cusp of understanding the mysterious world of adults, beginning with his own family.

CG Fewston is especially adept at capturing the images of transitional moments that lead to new revelations: “I stopped running and looked back. My hair, fully wet, leaked water into my eyes. Through the haze and thick veil of rain I watched my mother stare out across the river with a determination Id never seen from her before. And with the cool grace of a giant bird lifting itself out of the water to take flight, my mother slipped off her wedding ring and threw it hard into the river. The rain continued all around me and I told myself how this was the stuff of dreams and how I should not believe my young eyes.”

As Cody bears witness to these events, interprets them in his own manner, and comes to some startling realizations about family and society, Fewston continues to pinpoint these revelations in a pointed, poignant manner from Cody’s point of view: “The day had gone beyond repair, beyond human decency. As I walked to the end of the gravel road where the mailboxes signaled the paved road leading back to town, I thought as I placed the remaining shoe in the mailbox how I could never live with either Henry or Gwendolen ever again. I didnt belong to them anymore and I could no longer relate to the people theyd become or to who theyd always been. Henry and Gwendolen had become strangers to me and in their physical presence I saw the failings of human endeavor, smelt the stench from the gross absurdities found in the undereducated.”

Also ‘beyond human decency’ is American society, as Cody navigates an uncertain course to adulthood and its conundrums.

As he reviews his life and its influences, readers gain perceptions of the events and attitudes that stick with Cody as well as the special challenge involved in analyzing them with an intimate friend, later: “I dont think youre telling me what you came here to tell me. Is that true? Trust is a damn hard thing to come by in this world, isnt it? Only if you think so. Shall we?”

CG Fewston employs a literary device called a ‘frame narrative’ which may be less familiar to some, but allows for a picture-in-picture result (to use a photographic term). Snapshots of stories appear as parts of other stories, with the introductory story serving as a backdrop for a series of shorter stories that lead readers into each, dovetailing and connecting in intricate ways.

Intrinsically wound within the evolution of American society and experience, Cody’s journey will resonate with novel readers who enjoy blends of social and psychological inspection. The gritty voice and attitude that evolves from childhood is realistic and understandable as Cody brings readers along for a ride into the past and the wellsprings of his own discontent.

Readers of The Catcher in the Rye and similar stories will relish the astute, critical inspection of life that makes Little Hometown, America a compelling snapshot of contemporary American life and culture.

It’s highly recommended reading for literary readers who enjoy coming-of-age stories and reflects on the memories that influence future generations.

News
06/01/2020
14th Annual National Indie Excellence 2020 Awards

FINALIST in the SOUTHWEST REGIONAL FICTION category of the 14th Annual National Indie Excellence 2020 Awards (NIEA)

05/01/2020
HUMAN RELATIONS INDIE 2020 BOOK AWARDS

GOLD Winner in the 2020 Human Relations Indie Book Awards for Contemporary Realistic Fiction

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