by Harlan Koch
A Gripping Novel of Oklahoma during the Great Depression.
It´s a story of a town´s determined people who stayed, who struggled with each other, who outlasted the Depression and the howling dust and who then went to war. It´s raw life during trying times.
The story focuses on Tom Cable and his father, Homer, possessed by the memory of a car wreck that took the life of his lovely young wife. His relationship with Tom varies from exceptionally warm to demonic. Homer, who owns the local picture show, is the only man in this Bull Durham, cowboy town of Winelda to sport a cigarette holder and occasionally wear pearl-gray spats. During the annual 4th of July rodeo, Homer, replete with necktie, new Florsheim brogues and a double-breasted suit, surprises the whole town by riding a bronc.
Koch treats the reader to a cast of unforgettable characters, ones that Dickens would have been proud of: Mom and Pop Cable, Tom´s grandparents; Tom´s friends Amzy and Mean Dean; Ten-Gallon and his beer drinking toddler; Blanche and her girls at the local whorehouse; big-hearted Lottie, the tattooed bootlegger; and the local veterinarian, Perry Phillips.
As his life unfolds, we grow to love Tom Cable and his innate goodness; we suffer along with him in his often painful relationship with his father, whom he loves intensely and respects above all others; and we understand and are fascinated by his obsession with avenging Homer´s death.
Homer´s Place takes us on an emotional roller coaster ride - through periods of feel-good nostalgia of a bygone era in America, the thrilling heights of Homer Cable at his very best, quickly followed by a plummet to the depths of one of Homer´s alcoholic binges, exposing the demons rattling around in his skull, scarring Tom´s soul with his Hyde-like actions.
A better portrayal of Depression era life in a small town on the Great Plains simply does not exist. A more moving coming of age story would be difficult to find. Homer´