Danny Johnson, "The Last Road Home"
Danny Johnson, The Last Road Home
Wednesday, August 10, 7pm
"This novel is sure to join the rich canon of Southern literature." --Anna Jean Mayhew, author of The Dry Grass of August
From Pushcart Prize nominee Danny Johnson comes a powerful, lyrical debut novel that explores race relations, first love, and coming-of-age in North Carolina in the 1950s and '60s. At eight years old, Raeford "Junebug" Hurley has known more than his share of hard lessons. After the sudden death of his parents, he goes to live with his grandparents on a farm surrounded by tobacco fields and lonesome woods. There he meets Fancy Stroud and her twin brother, Lightning, the children of black sharecroppers on a neighboring farm. As years pass, the friendship between Junebug and bright, compassionate Fancy takes on a deeper intensity. Junebug, aware of all the ways in which he and Fancy are more alike than different, habitually bucks against the casual bigotry that surrounds them--dangerous in a community ruled by the Klan. On the brink of adulthood, Junebug is drawn into a moneymaking scheme that goes awry--and leaves him with a dark secret he must keep from those he loves. And as Fancy, tired of saying yes'um and living scared, tries to find her place in the world, Junebug embarks on a journey that will take him through loss and war toward a hard-won understanding. At once tender and unflinching, The Last Road Home delves deep into the gritty, violent realities of the South's turbulent past, yet evokes the universal hunger for belonging.
Danny Johnson writes novels and short stories whose characters tend to represent the disenfranchised in our culture, examining their struggles in a society that does not acknowledge their value. He is an active member of The North Carolina Writer's Network and has served as fiction judge for the Weymouth Center for Arts and Humanities Writing Contest. His work has appeared in Remembrances of Wars Past Anthology, South Writ Large, Sheepshead Review, A Southern Journal, and Fox Chase Review, among others.