Books: The Oxygen Man By Steve Yarbrough

By Steve Yarbrough

A shooting ends this compassionate, clear-eyed, expertly written first novel, a death that several lives have been stumbling toward for a quarter-century. Ned Rose is the title figure, a no-hoper in early middle age, who checks the oxygen levels in the 16 ponds of a Mississippi catfish farm. Daisy is his estranged sister. They are poor and white, though not white trash. Mack Bell owns the farm and owns Ned too. Mack has labor troubles. He summons Ned, as he has been doing since high school. Retribution explodes in the blast of a gun. Daisy, a figure strong enough to have...

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