Never Back Down

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1st Edition

By Ernest Herbert. David R. Godine Publishers, paperback, 225 x 140 mm. 256pp
In stock in Australia now for immediate despatch

In this, Ernest Hebert's most autobiographical novel to date, Jack Landry, haunted by dreams of a tragedy that occurred centuries before he was born, is introduced as a promising high school baseball player from the mill town of Keene, New Hampshire. A young boy when the novel opens in July 1953, Jack and his best friend, Elphege Beaupre, devise a motto to live by: Never back down, never instigate. It's a rule of stubborn passivity Jack will follow to the end of his days.

Unconsciously burdened by his French-Canadian heritage, hemmed in by his working-class parents' submission to authority, the church, and a life of hard work, young Jack still has big dreams. Yet his warring values and desires lead to two mistakes in his youth that will colour the rest of his days.

The first causes great harm to his first and only love, a half-Cajun Gulf Coast girl (and the boss' daughter). In a world where one is asked to take responsibilities for actions but perhaps not suffer the consequences, Jack punishes himself. Following the tenets of Catholicism, he embarks on a lifelong penance to atone for his sin. The subsequent renunciation of his dreams appears to be Jack's second mistake. But is it?

Hebert is a master storyteller who, in addition to creating memorable characters and gripping narratives, does not shy away from the big questions. In Never Back Down, he raises more than a few: At what price, success? Is redemption possible? Can one live by a motto? What does it mean to take responsibility? The portrait Hebert gives us of Jack Landry's life of menial labour, joie de vivre, and a love that just won't die not only raises these questions but answers them as well.

'Ernie Hebert's novels don't just capture New England; they've become a part of it - Jodi Picoult

'One of New England's best writers' - Yankee Magazine

'He writes with a grace, precision, and humor that makes one feel he will do for the hinterlands what John Updike did for the suburbs' - New York Times

Ernest Hebert lives in New Hampshire and teaches writing at Dartmouth College. His novels include The Old American and the acclaimed six-volume Darby series.


SKU 9781567924329
Barcode # 9781567924329
Brand Godine
Artist / Author Ernest HEBERT

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