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Noble Norfleet

3.35  ·  Rating details ·  117 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Having given voice in previous novels to the extraordinary Kate Vaiden, Blue Calhoun, and Roxanna Slade, Reynolds Price -- one of America's most respected men of letters -- adds Noble Norfleet to his gallery of compelling portraits.
A few days before Noble Norfleet's eighteenth birthday, his family suffers a violent catastrophe. The sole survivor, Noble throws himself int
Paperback, 320 pages
Published June 24th 2003 by Scribner (first published 2002)
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A brutal story about a family. Noble's mother acts out her craziness in a brutal way and his life is permanently affected. Price has a knack for writing about his home state of North Carolina. I feel a strong sense of place on every page. Not surprisingly, Noble's sense of women and sex is part of the unraveling of his life. Each of his relationships is driven by sex or loyalty or yearning and this essentially forms the heart of the novel. Reynolds Price writes fairly straightforward sentences, ...more
Jim Grimsley
Feb 28, 2021 rated it it was ok
I have read at least a dozen books by Reynolds Price, including the first two novels that were so incandescently drawn, A Long and Happy Life and A Generous Man. I will review one of those later, maybe, to counteract my review of this book. Coming from late in his career, this book is memorable for the unconstrained nature of the plot, the sheer strangeness of it, and the sense that the book is sometimes meandering and sometimes babbling. He survived cancer to write some important novels beyond ...more
Haven Fairfield
Apr 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
Noble Norfleet's mom spared him his life. She left him asleep as she killed his brother and sister in another part of the house. His father had long since abandoned them. Noble is recounting his life to us and most of it is spent dealing with this central tragedy.

Noble has had visions at times in life. He wonders if these visions were signs to point him in a particular direction. Otherwise, he has no direction. There times when reading this book that I wished I had a vision because I could not
Rena Mayberry
Just as with many other marvelously talented authors with enormous lists of top-drawer writing, this one did not stand up to the stature of Reynolds Price previous long fiction.
It was published a bit late in his career, 2002. In addition to character depiction, the narrator
loads us with opinions such as how dangerous life is for American children, for example. He experiences visions that seem intent on directing his directionless life.

There are excellent characters, who do incomprehensible th
Mar 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
I picked this book up at a friend's house and couldn't put it down. So much happens to the protagonist, Noble Norfleet, that I kept wanting to know what would occur next. I was frustrated by Noble's passivity and didn't buy the visions that he had, but I still wanted to understand what made him tick. Virtually everything about my life and the way I view the world is exactly opposite to the way this young white Southern male experiences his life in the 1960s onward, but I enjoyed being drawn into ...more
Apr 16, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: sadists or wait, maybe masochists
Recommended to Elizabeth by: mill valley librarian who shall remain nameless
Shelves: april_2008
this book was recommended to me by a librarian at the MV library. one i trust as we both enjoy sorrowful books. but this book is really odd. i liked it but did not love it. the main character, noble, is well defined and is interesting in the choices he takes. all the other characters are very weird as they each end up having horrific stories. you get to know them and at some point they tell you their history and every single character has horrible, horrible things done to them. like incestual ra ...more
Aug 24, 2008 rated it liked it
What I learned from this book is that even Reynolds Price can disappoint me. One must unconditionally love Mr. Price to forgive him for this story line. Although I think the book is good, I must wonder where he found these characters. It is depressing and Noble crossed paths with some really strange and tormented folks. I have been "pushing Price" to a friend. I hope he does not start with this novel. ...more
Kristi Brendle
May 04, 2009 rated it liked it
Holy wayward sexual deviancy, Batman! I'm not, nor have ever been, a hyper-sexual teenage boy, but the author clearly is working thru his deviant teenage manipulation & guilt. If you can overlook that, which is difficult, the tale of the psychotic murderous mother & latently guilty son is gratuitous at worst, honest at best. His bizarre hallucinations & Eve-based sexual worship is overkill, but the ending leaves much to the imagination (unlike the rest of the tome). ...more
Sep 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
I have admired Price's writing for many years, but somehow hadn't read this one. Alas, this one is a disappointment. The book is depressing, and I found the main character aimless. I still don't understand his take on life or sex. The writing is at times as beautiful as Price's other writing, but other times it is almost purple and lurid -- especially the many paragraphs about sex. I have high expectations for Price; this one didn't meet them. Read Blue Calhoun for a terrific Price novel. ...more
John R Urry
Apr 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Wow, don't really know what to say.........didn't love it or hate it but I could not stop reading it. I wouldn't recommend this book, but I would not tell someone not to read it either........... Although after saying that, I will probably pick up another book by Reynolds Price. Sorry if this is confusing, but after finishing this book I feel a bit of mixed feelings as you can tell. ...more
Sep 05, 2008 rated it it was ok
I've liked almost everything I've read by Reynolds Price, but this made me not want to get out of bed -- ever again. It's that depressing. Worse, throughout the book, it felt like Price was trying too hard. ...more
Feb 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Price is always so promising, with his uncompromising language and languid, hazy realism. However, this novel didn't seem to go anywhere unexpected. Still, Price's original turns of the phrase are always worth reading in today's world of re-run literary devices. ...more
May 02, 2009 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
Book about nothing. Except a 17+ year-old boy sexually satisfying himself. Too much information that didn't add to the mundane story.

6/13/2016 This book is mundane and about nothing I did not realize I had read it 13 years ago until I went to log it in. What a waste of time!!!!
Oct 29, 2007 rated it it was ok
i found this book a little too depressing.
Tedious and brilliant both. Some outstanding prose, but the storyline at other times was most disappointing. Maybe a bit too much like real-life.
Mar 02, 2009 rated it liked it
Different and good, but it started to drag for the last third or so.
Jan 04, 2009 rated it liked it
example of an amazing "full circle" plot ...more
Kevin Ressler
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Mar 24, 2019
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Reynolds Price was born in Macon, North Carolina in 1933. Educated at Duke University and, as a Rhodes Scholar, at Merton College, Oxford University. He taught at Duke since 1958 and was James B. Duke Professor of English.

His first short stories, and many later ones, are published in his Collected Stories. A Long and Happy Life was published in 1962 and won the William Faulkner Award for a best fi

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