Item description for Splinterville by Cliff Hudder...
Near starvation in Northern Georgia, Confederate private Henry Wallace of Hood's Texas Brigade accidentally ingests psychotropic mushrooms before marching into the second day of the Battle of Chickamauga, but lives to tell about it in a long (forty-one-foot) letter to his dead comrade's father. Or does he? As Private Wallace's meandering tale, scrawled on a roll of wrapping paper, unravels, historians and scholars battle in footnotes over whether this document full of peculiar claims, internal inconsistencies, and anachronistic content is a first-hand report or an elaborate forgery.
"This is a stunning debut by a master storyteller."--Wendell Mayo
"I don't recall many historical novellas or novels abounding in comedy. Another distinctive technique is the pseudo-footnotes. They remind me of Nabokov's footnotes in Pale Fire."--Robert Phillips
"Hudder's evocation of another time and place is enhanced by his editor's protesting voice, both of which lend good humor to counterpoint the poignant story of young lives wasted in war."--Clay Reynolds
"In a manner reminiscent of Jorge Luis Borges, Cliff Hudder weaves a tale of fact, fiction, legend and imagination that is intriguing, enthralling and believable."--Robert Flynn
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Reviews - What do customers think about Splinterville?
A fresh voice and a truly unique book Jun 29, 2008
Having read many works of short fiction by this gifted writer, I awaited the release of his novella, Splinterville, with high expectation. The book (recipient of the 2007 Texas Review Fiction Award) did not disappoint. This is a deftly constructed book that is at once highly entertaining and emotionally engaging. The simple voice of a barely literate Civil War soldier who writes to the parents of his fallen friend is poignant in its sincerity and charming in its curious dialect. The book is peppered throughout with generous doses of sharp-witted humor, particularly in the MUST-READ footnotes. I've not read a book quite like this before and I can't remember when I've enjoyed one more.
A n exciting read May 2, 2008
Hudder's first book, Splinterville, is a daring undertaking and shining achievement. At once academic and accessible, the narrator's antiquated verbosity lends it period appropriate credibility and opportunities for startling jolts of humor. This book really keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. If you don't pay attention or read the appropriately excessive footnotes, you miss an instance of biting humor (or three).
At its core, it is a touching look at a friendship told by a misinformed narrator during a desperate campaign in the Civil War (that, or the whole thing is a forgery--we never can tell). Funny and touching, the story will stay with you a long time after you read it.
"Splinterville" Apr 30, 2008
"Splinterville", Cliff Hudder's Civil War tale, is a novella with the bravery to treat the emotionally charged American Civil War with humor and beauty. The story is in the form of a seventy page letter framed by the faux research of Jules H. DeRossier. DeRossier writes the introduction and breaks into the narrative in the form of footnotes throughout the novella. DeRossier's goal, in his introduction and footnotes, and the reader must remember that DeRossier is also of Hudder's creation, is to defend the authenticity of the letter. (If you are like me, you tend to skip footnotes as they interrupt the flow of a text. However, the footnotes in "Splinterville" have some great understated humor and shouldn't be skipped.) DeRossier writes, "My defense of the letter...resulted in an avalanche of mail and email, of which the following could be considered representative: `Dear contrarian neohistorian hack set on glorification of any but red-blooded, heroic, Anglo ancestors for purposes of pursuing your own perverted self-interests...'" The body of the story, Henry Oldham Wallace's letter to the father of his fallen comrade Michael "Clinch" Williamson, is successfully written in dialect and follows Clinch's influence on the letter's author. Wallace says of Clinch, "My mother had put me in warning sure against (for such were my thoughts at the time), and a Bad Influence, prone to telling tales and insults, a drinker of Spirits--for so he was held to be--when the occasion permitted, a borrower of whatever was not screwed down solid plus nailed." Under Clinch's wing it's hard to believe either man will do more than dodge bullets or pilfer bodies, but with the unlikely pair Hudder manages, almost unnoticed, to bring the horror of war close, until the reader, like Wallace, is standing in a field of death wondering exactly how it all happened. "...it looked to me to be the very thing what your boy, little Clinch, had called it just a bit earlier in the day, what was in fact murder...and the only reason it had not come to me before was maybe it was just too obvious--I had been in those cases kind of caught like a ant in a web only what I was truly caught up in was acts of murder, sir!" Through beauty of language and description Hudder takes the reader in his hand cradling him or her to ease the pain of it all, but, in fact, that juxtaposition of beauty and death only increases the reader's discomfiture. "Splinterville" is a story that shows man's playfulness and his deadly capacities. A wonderful read that prompts one to laugh out loud and to pause to consider.