Les Edgerton’s The Death of Tarpons is a cracking coming-of-age drama set in 1950s Texas. Bookended by the main character in old age it tells of his boyhood summer where not much happens except friendship, family, and fishing – upended by the occasional vicious beating by his dad when he transgresses the old man’s strict moral code.
At its calmest it’s the kind of story you can read with a stalk of grass in your mouth and float on the current, but the threat of violence never really lets you settle. And when it comes you’ll wince, and you’ll be angry. Angry at the dad and angry at the protagonist, Corey, angry at his mum for slipping into her Bible.
Edgerton does a brilliant job at showing Corey’s motivation and why he takes it. Takes the edge off that anger and turns you soft with him as he gets back into the swing of things with his best friend, Destin, and his grandpa, Corey’s biggest influence. And by the time you get to the end …
It’s the first book I’ve read by Edgerton, though I’ve been aware if him for a long time. I need to push on and read his other stuff, because this was great.