NORWOOD by Charles Portis


Email this review


This relaxed, funny first novel about an engaging young man in peculiar states of affairs features Norwood Pratt, recently given a ""hardship discharge"" from the Service who returns home to tend his sister Vernell after the death of ""Mr. Pratt."" his father. Norwood, a filling station attendant with a vague ambition to become a star on the Louisiana Hayride, settles down to tend house and backyard junkyard. But when Vernell, at his urging gets a job as a waitress and becomes power-mad with her new ""money and position,"" Norwood becomes piqued. He is even more discomfited when she brings home Bill Bird, a new husband and a disabled veteran with ""an inquiring mind."" Birk nows everything...and says so. Norwood knows enough to get out which he does by getting a job with Grady Fring, ""the Credit King."" Fring credits Norwood with enough stupidity to drive two hot stolen cars and a cool blonde to New York. Thus commences a journey that takes our hero in and out of cars, apartments, ""the commuter special,"" freight trains and buses. Finally, with Edmund B. Ratner, ""the world's smallest perfect man,"" Joanna, a chicken with an extraordinary I.Q., and Rita Lee, a future wife, Norwood arrives back home intact. Norwood is just simple enough to be believable and the story has just the right brand of humor. Laughable. Likable.

Pub Date: July 29th, 1966
ISBN: 0879517034
Publisher: Simon & Schuster