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Wounded

by Percival Everett

There's more to this book than meets the eye. A tale about a hate crime in a small town encompasses personal and family conflict, as well as a budding romance. The murder of a gay man sets off a chain of events forcing many to confront their feelings about homosexuality. A violent novel in many ways but there are a few flashes of American-style quirky humour - look out for the mule! In the end a gripping read that doesn't pull any punches.

Extract

The day had turned hot and the street felt like steaming food. I ducked into the library where it was air-conditioned. It was a routine stop once a week to read newspapers and magazines. I was able at once to counteract my chosen isolation and justify that choice. I read about the gay killing in the Denver Post, the Washington Post, the St Louis Times Dispatch, and the New York Times. They all said about the same thing, with the Eastern papers offering the implication, if not outright accusation, that the crime was symptomatic of some rural or Western disease of intolerance. I thought, yes, it’s called America. I wondered why the reported rash of fifty rapes in Central Park was not considered a similar indicator of regional moral breakdown. I saw the dead boy’s name and it stuck with me for the first time and I felt a little ashamed by that. Jerry Tuttle. By all reports he was a small man, a gentle man, and like most murdered people, not deserving of what had happened to him.

Parallels

Tobacco Road by Erskine Caldwell
Brokeback Mountain - the film
 

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