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The Ballad of Lee Cotton

by Christopher Wilson

Born into poverty in the Deep South in 1950, Lee Cotton's story takes in black rights, women's rights, Vietnam, magic and witchcraft. This book manages to combine serious issues with a lot of fun. Cotton narrates his own eventful story and you will find yourself rooting for him from start to finish. A book packed with incident but also well worth reading for the language alone. The extract I've chosen is typical; the narrative is simple, wise and funny all at the same time.

Extract

But it's the small personal events that stick in the mind. Like the time Lou Carey shoots his Chevy Apache 427 CU automatic, outside the Magnolia Diner, once through each headlight, twice through the radiator, and three times through the windshield, and then leaves the corpse to rust and rot by the kerbside as a public warning to bad-attitude trucks, which sounds a mean and cranky thing to do, but Eureka folk always got sound reasons, and that's the trouble with history, serving it up cold and stale on the plate, when it needs to be savoured fresh and hot.

Parallels

Forrest Gump by Winston Groom
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
 

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