King of Vermont

by Stephen Morris
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King of Vermont cover

A chance comment on Vermont's most popular talk show, Straddlin' the Fence, lands Darwin Hunter in a three-way race to be elected State Senator. Set against a political landscape as rocky and muddy as the garden during Mud Season, Darwin combats his wily, experienced opponents with his only long suit–the truth.

The King of Vermont is part two of "Stories and Tunes," Stephen Morris's "four-part" trilogy of life in the rural North.


reviews: King of Vermont

by Stephen Morris

Although there are barrels of laughs, Morris takes on some timeless and timely issues.

-- Vermont Sunday Magazine

Garrison Keillor goes Yankee.

-- Dallas Morning News

From Publishers Weekly

Midlife crises prompt strange, unpredictable behavior in the denizens of a rural Vermont town in Morris's second comic novel. Ophthalmologist Darwin Hunter, who decides to run for the Vermont state senate on a campaign promise of "total disclosure," reveals to voters the most intimate details of his personal life; his wife Sammi, declaring her need for a "multigamous relationship," moves out and hooks up with a 65 basketball star; ex-radical hippie Townshend Clarke transforms himself into an architectural maven and hatches a scheme to restore Upper Granville, Vt., to its pristine 1839 state. Set in the same fictive hamlet as Morris's Beyond Yonder, this gently sardonic satire, like its predecessor, pits "Chucks," the native Vermonters, against "Flatlanders," the invading urban refugees for whom home canning is a sacrament. Morris has mildly amusing fun with a large cast of deft caricatures as he spoofs New Englanders, back-to-nature types, political elections, yuppies and the lofty standards of private behavior demanded of politicians.

Copyright © 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

King of Vermont

by Stephen Morris
Preface
6
1: Straddlin' the Fence7
2: A Plague of Voyagers21
3: Bumps37
4: The Transformation of Townshend46
5: Captain Goo-Roo, or Darwin Does ARFO57
6: North Country Samurai67
7: Total Disclosure79
8: Campaign of Bottled Beers94
9: More Straddlin'101
10: (Yet Another) Rural Roar110
11: The Captain at the Wheel123
12: Beyond Beyond136
13: The World According to Tunbridge150

King of Vermont

by Stephen Morris

from Chapter 1: Straddlin' the Fence

Riley Gore's hair was perfect. And still, the self-proclaimed Gray Fox of the Green Mountains dabbed frantically with licked fingertips at immaculate sideburns as technicians scurried in preparation for the weekly broadcast of Channel 5's local feature show, Straddlin' the Fence. His guest, Darwin Hunter of Upper Granville, Vermont, sat silently, blood pounding in his head from a necktie drawn too tight.

Gore sat in a chair shaped like a giant human hand. Darwin sank into a new, overly soft couch. Behind them was a backdrop of plastic plants and a veneered bookcase filled with random titles purchased at a yard sale. The rest of the studio was empty, save for the lights, wires, cameras, and operators.

"What question will you ask first?" Darwin spoke to break the tension as well as to make sure that all frogs were cleared from his throat. Gore paid as much attention to Darwin's question as does a cow to a fly on its butt. Instead, he stared at Hunter as he would at a mirror.

What is a "Four-Part Trilogy?"

Next up from The Public Press: the first three books, revised and improved, in Stephen Morris's Vermont epic, the four part trilogy.

books in the Four-part Trilogy

Life has a way of interfering with art. Beyond Yonder, The King of Vermont, and Darwin and the Tunnel of Love were always intended by the author to be a single work, telling the epic story of the daily lives and times of the inhabitants of the tiny hamlet of Upper Granville, Vermont.

But life intervenes. It happens! Day jobs take priority. Parents grow old. Little publishers sell to big publishers. Editors move on to different jobs. Opportunities knock. Kids leave home. It happens! It happens! And it happens!

As a result, the epic novel came out in fits and spurts. First, Beyond Yonder. That's when the publisher got sold. Then, King of Vermont, that's when the editor quit. Meanwhile, a real life equivalent to Upper Granville began appearing on the pages of the Vermont Sunday Magazine. Now, the region had a name, Beyonder, to describe that part of Vermont that is next to nothing, but not far away from anywhere. Tales and More Tails is a collection of Beyonder's "Stories and Tunes."

The Public Press is pleased to present Beyonder in its original glory – ficticious and non-ficticious. This is the Director's cut, digitally remastered, and in full Dolby sound. This is Beyonder at the peak of foliage, at the depth of Mud Season despair, in the procreational frenzy of the vernal kaboom, and in the enveloping eternity of an August night watching the meteors shower in a part of the world where you can actually still see them.

The four books in Stephen Morris
In Beyonder, 4 books make 1 trilogy
Stephen Morris
interview with publisher and author Stephen Morris
cover: Beyond Yonder by Stephen Morris
Beyond Yonder
by Stephen Morris
cover: King of Vermont by Stephen Morris
King of Vermont
by Stephen Morris
cover: Tales and More Tails by Stephen Morris
Tales & More Tales
by Stephen Morris
cover: Tunnel of Love by Stephen Morris
Tunnel of Love
by Stephen Morris

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Deus ex Machina
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