Jerene Jarvis Johnston and her husband, Duke, are exemplars of Charlotte, North Carolina’s high society, a world where old Southern money and the secrets behind it meet the new wealth of bankers, real estate speculators, and carpetbagging social climbers. Steely and implacable, Jerene presides over her family’s legacy of paintings at the Mint Museum; Duke, the one-time college golden boy and descendant of a Confederate general, whose promising political career was mysteriously short-circuited, has settled into a comfortable semi-senescence as a Civil War reenactor. Jerene’s brother Gaston is an infamously dissolute best-selling historical novelist who has never managed to begin his long-dreamed-of masterpiece. And their sister Dillard’s unfortunate life decisions and losses have rendered her a near-recluse.
As the four Johnston children - smart but reckless Annie, good-boy minister Bo, might-be-gay-but-that’s-okay Joshua, and damaged, dangerous Jerilyn - flounder in their adult lives, Jerene must take action to preserve the family's legacy, Duke’s fragile honor, and what's left of the dwindling family fortune. She will stop at nothing to keep what she has - is it too much to ask for one ounce of cooperation from her heedless family?
In Lookaway, Lookaway, Wilton Barnhardt has written a full-bore, headlong, hilarious narrative of a family coming apart, a society changing beyond recognition, and an unforgettable woman striving to pull it all together.
Includes a bonus interview between Wilton Barnhardt and George Witte, editor in chief of St. Martin's Press.