Kithless and kinless 

An excerpt from esteemed Arkansas author Donald Harington’s forthcoming novel, ‘Farther Along.’

'FARTHER ALONG': New novel from Donald Harington.
  • 'FARTHER ALONG': New novel from Donald Harington.

Entertainment Weekly has called Donald Harington “America's Greatest Unknown Novelist.” Of course, here in Arkansas, where he was born and raised and continues to reside, he's long been a favorite son. The author of 13 books, Harington grew up in Little Rock, but spent most summers with his grandparents in the Ozarks. Many of his novels center on the fictional Ozark town of Stay More, a creation Believer magazine has described as “an Arcadian memory-world, inaccessible but eternal: hard to find, but harder to leave.”

Harington, professor of art history at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, has won the Robert Penn Warren Award, the Porter Prize, the Heasley Prize and the Arkansas Fiction Award of the Arkansas Library Association. He's been inducted into the Arkansas Writers' Hall of Fame and won the inaugural Oxford American award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature.

Harrington will participate in the Arkansas Literary Festival's “Arkansas Fiction III” panel at 10 a.m. Sunday, April 6.

Below, we're pleased to present an advance excerpt of the author's 14th book, “Farther Along,” a novel that tracks a chief curator of a museum devoted to the vanished American past who decides he, too, wants to vanish. Armed with a book on the life and culture of a vanished tribe of Indians known as Bluff-Dwellers, he takes up residence in the wilds of the Ozark Mountains with only a dog for company. “Farther Along” will be released in May by Toby Press.

The tissue or, not to mince the issue, toilet paper, is the sole luxury I permit myself, and that sparingly, using scarcely more at the nether aperture than at the higher, the bung than the maw, packing on my back, each semi-annual seven-mile hike back from the village, as many rolls as I can carry, and they being so downy light I can bear a half-year's supply, six rolls to a cellophane package, twelve packages bound and tied and piled high above my shoulders in a heap like Bunyan's Pilgrim's load, although some loafers along the road are bound and obliged to make a crack or two I overhear: “That feller shore must bowel off ever hour on the hour,” or “Naw, it's a durn sight cheaper than cigarette papers.” They don't know me, nor do they realize that I use almost as much of the tissue at one opening as at the other. Children point and giggle, and call me The Giasticutus, which, I have learned, is a huge mythical bird of prey who carries off large articles on its back — when I hear that, I obligingly flap my elbows like wings and wish I could fly. Dogs bark, or they bark at least once, and if they bark twice it is tentative, hesitant — Ralph? — for my own dog has begun snarling at them in a low frequency foreign and mythical to them, because they, all of them, are hounds, blue tick, black and tan, redbone and mixed glut of mutts, and my dog is purebred German Shepherd, the only one of that breed, as far as I know, in the entire county. He has a name which I did not give to him, or, rather, which I gave to him out of remembrance of a friend's dog of the same breed and name, long ago it seems, a thoroughly trite and stupefyingly common name which, having dubbed him with, I have rarely spoken. He is black and gray. I am tanned and gray, but on the winter trip of the semi-annual hikes to town, January 18th, my birthday (the summer trip is made July 18th), we both of us are sometimes all white with snow on the way in and back, snow camouflaging the tissue, and there are no loafers or children or dogs along the way to quip or point or bark.



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