Out of the American neon desert of roller domes, chili parlors, The Grand Ole Opry, and girls who want "to live in a trailer and play records all night", comes ex-marine and troubadour Norwood Pratt. Sent on a mission to New York by Grady Fring, the Kredit King, Norwood has visions of "speeding across the country in a late model car, seeing all the sights". Instead, he gets involved in a wild journey that takes him in and out of stolen cars, freight trains, and buses.
By the time he returns home to Ralph, Texas, Norwood has met his true love, Rita Lee, on a Trailways bus; befriended Edmund B. Ratner, the second shortest midget in show business and "the world's smallest perfect fat man"; and helped Joann, "the chicken with a college education", to realize her true potential in life. As with all of Portis' fiction, the tone is cool, sympathetic, funny, and undeniably American.
"The least known great writer in America." (
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