"His life had come to this: save a few deer from the jaws of dogs. He was a small man sent to perform a small task."
Howard Elman is a man whose internal landscape is as disordered as his front yard, where native New Hampshire birches mingle with a bullet-riddled washer, abandoned bathroom fixtures, and several junk cars. Howard, anti-hero of this first novel in Ernest Hebert's highly acclaimed Darby series, is a mixture too.
Howard's battle against encroaching change symbolizes the class conflict between indigenous Granite Staters scratching out a living and citified immigrants with "college degrees and big bank accounts." Like the winter-weakened deer threatened by the dogs of March -- the normally docile house pets whose instincts arouse them to chase and kill for sport -- Howard, too, is sorely beset.
ERNEST HEBERT lives in New Hampshire and teaches writing at Dartmouth College. The final volume in his acclaimed "Darby" cycle, Live Free or Die, has also been reissued as a Hardscrabble book. UPNE has published his latest novel, the critically-acclaimed The Old American, as well as his novel Mad Boys and has also reissued under the title The Kinship two other books from the Darby series: A Little More Than Kin and The Passion of Estelle Jordan.