From an acclaimed Mississippi writer a new novel in which two convicts bond and survive through love
In a fit of rage over an insult to his father's grave, young Marcus Oday kills his friend Obie's father, is convicted of manslaughter, and is sentenced to a term in the state penitentiary.
Sensitive, vulnerable, and afraid, Marcus is rescued by an older convict named Mims, who tenderly shields him from harm. In the turbulent prison world, where the jolting code phrase of "Red Midnight" is the signal that a prisoner has escaped, an intimate, soulful affection develops between Marcus and his guardian. It blends brotherhood, friendship, and love.
When Thomas Hal Phillips's Red Midnight begins, Marcus Oday is newly paroled from prison. In some ways, he would like nothing better than to go back.
Charged with mystery and vivid characterizations, the novel is a distinctive coming-of-age story that examines the bonds between family members and between friends and exposes the tensions that can tear them apart. Like other novels by Phillips, Red Midnight is set in the rustic hill country of northern Mississippi close to the primal, natural earth. The clash of human wills, the quest for new identity, and the life-altering encounter with profound friendship are Phillips's themes. His focus falls on the alienated, heart-sick hero, who, without his beloved father and his French mother, now faces life without Mims.
A tale of a young man discovering himself, Red Midnight is a haunting evocation of Mississippi during the years after World War II.
As the acclaimed author of five novels published in the 1940s and 1950s, Thomas Hal Phillips was in the last wave of the Southern Literary Renaissance. He went on to achieve success as a screenwriter in Hollywood, working extensively with filmmaker Robert Altman.
In Red Midnight, after a forty-year absence, Phillips returns masterfully to fiction.
Thomas Hal Phillips received the O. Henry award and two Guggenheim fellowships. He collaborated in writing the screenplays of Robert Altman's Nashville and Thieves Like Us. Two of his novels, The Loved and the Unloved and Kangaroo Hollow, are available from University Press of Mississippi. He lives in Kossuth, Miss.