In this sensual, beautifully written coming-of-age tale, debut novelist Charles Hulse transports readers to a time when radios crackled with the sounds of Benny Goodman and the Dorsey Brothers...when ice cream was a rare treat, hand-churned in a two-gallon wooden bucket freezer...when destitute Okies traversed Route 66 in search of elusive prosperity…and nobody ever talked about the things a sexually precocious teenage boy might encounter along the way...In Tall Cotton
Sandwiched in the back seat of a Model A Ford, between his older brother and baby sister, Totsy Woods has, in a sense, seen it all—from a dusty Ozark farm to the golden cities of the California coast; from sun-parched Albuquerque to the bright lights and flooded streets of Phoenix. Yet even schoolyard games with other curious boys could never have prepared him for the passionate, perilous journey that unfolds against the vivid backdrop of the Depression Era American southwest.
Longing to escape an atmosphere heavy with his father's growing restlessness and his mother's gradual withdrawal, Totsy loses himself in the secret thrill of experimentation with his peers. But everything changes when an unexpected encounter plunges him into an adult world more alien, more strangely exhilarating, than the ever-changing view beyond his window. Now, his forbidden stirrings—shrouded in layers of shame and guilt—force Totsy to face a difficult lesson about growing up, about love and trust, and about being a man…on his own terms.
“A groundbreaking novel that is several notches above the level of most popular fiction.” —Publishers Weekly