#16- Redneck Riviera by Dennis Covington

The march to 50 new books in 2009 edges on…

16. Redneck Riviera- Dennis Covington

This book is a fairly thin memoir, but really struck a chord with me. Covington, who is Alabama ne’er-do-well, goes in search of his inheritance. Basically, his father was swindled in the purchase of 2 1/2 acres of swamp land in Florida. The land is being used by a group of violent squatters who call themselves “The Hunt Club”. Covington tries to claim his land, but his cabin is shot up, his pick up truck is torched, he is cursed and regaled, but on he fights.

What this book is really about is generations– the gap between our parents and us, and us and our kids (I say this although Covington is closer to my own parents’ age really)– and about inheritance. What do we take from those who come before? What should we take? What does any of it mean anyway? THese are the sort of questions which Covington seeks to answer. He is most poignant when he recalls a failed business venture of his teenaged years, selling armadillos, and his own father’s disappointment with the failure. He ties this in with he and his own daughter finding an armadillo near his father’s land and “adopting” it, only to have that armadillo die as well. It sounds odd and quirky, and it is, not unlike Covington himself. But it’s also a lot of fun, and a good book to make you think about what land means, and inheritance means, and life means. Not too shabby.

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