Yates Paul, His Grand Flights, His Tootings
by James Baker Hall
From the 2002 trade paperback edition (University Press of Kentucky):
A rare kind of good book.... The reader will go away grateful for having his secret closet opened: He may find some things that he had hoped not to see or think about again, but he will also find much that he is glad to know belongs to him: Records of a journey he is both glad and sorry to have made, and souvenirs from the other side of the looking glass that he would never want to be without.
James Baker Halls blackly comic coming-of-age novel unfolds through the eyes of thirteen-year-old Yates Paul. He becomes consumed with revelations about his inattentive fathers loneliness, his grandmothers stormy relationship with his boisterous alcoholic uncle, and the frustration of trying to convince his father of his superior photography skills. In pursuing his callingsphotography, baseball, and love (with women twice his age)the precocious Yates falls back on Walter Mittyesque daydreams to cope with a frequently humorous and sometimes dark world.
James Baker Hall, Poet Laureate of Kentucky, teaches creative writing at the University of Kentucky. He has published many volumes of poetry, two novels, and four collections of photography.