“Exhilarating. A strongly original voice combined with a very unusual approach to his material.”
“A black man out of Harvard with medical training writing literary fiction is an interesting proposition, but his writing out of Jacksonville, Florida, makes it a literary proposition that commands attention. Mr. Woodward can be redolent of Faulkner and Percy, and, most notably, Hannah, and he’s working a terrain close to, but across the tracks from, Linda Blair, and Lynyrd Skynyrd, and James Merrill. This is a writer to keep an eye on.”
“Were I told Woodward was the lovechild of Toni Morrison and Miles Davis for the depth, color, power, and grandness of vision he brings to American Letters, my only question would be: “When and how did the two get together?”
In a town called Johnsonville on the northern Florida coast, a family called the Toaks have pushed every possible social boundary to its logical extreme for three generations. Feddy Toak, in his forties, is a medical school dropout, recovering alcohol and cocaine addict, and former handyman. His father, Teo, is one of Johnsonville's most prosperous bail bondsmen, slumlord, and idol to a diminishing old guard of hustlers and con men. Jesmond Toak, Feddy's son, haunted by his father's violent past and current failures, is turning toward the low road.
The entire city seethes with schemes and intrigue. Suicides and murders, infidelities and violence mount and converge with shattering precision on the eve of a hurricane, forcing the entire community to struggle with its demons—and search for some chance at redemption.
Chronicling a slice of American landscape and culture with rare levels of depth and originality, Cadillac Orpheus defies categorization: it is by turns exuberant, terrifying, hilarious, brave, brazen, and, above all, wondrous.
Solon Timothy Woodward has been a scholar at Breadloaf and Sewanee. His short fiction has appeared in publications including The Gettysburg Review, Shenandoah, The Oxford American, BOMB, and the anthology Best New American Voices 2007. Woodward studied philosophy and biology at Harvard and is practicing physician at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida.