The Architecture of the Arkansas Ozarks

by Donald Harington
Little, Brown, $9.95
From log cabin to mobile home in six generations: such is the story of Stay More, an imaginary but probably typical enough town in the Arkansas Ozarks, a part of the country that Donald Harington knows well and adores to distraction. Harington invents a hillbilly family—the Ingledews—to found and populate this town and sets out to show us what they successively lived in, from which project comes the title of the novel. Along the way, of course, he shows us considerably more than that, for the book is both a nostalgic evocation of the Ozarks and a wry lament on progress, or rather PROG RESS, as it is pronounced skeptically by the natives of Stay More, whom their creator affectionately calls Stay Morons.
Harington is a versatile parodist with a zany sense of humor which he aims at anthropology, textbook history, the folk tale, and much else besides. The book has its faults, not the least of which is excessive cuteness. And the author doesn’t trust us to note on our own that the subject of his comedy—the rise and fall of Stay More—is symbolic of something larger. Still, though Harington’s humor may lack subtlety, one thing is clear: he laughs only at what he loves.
—Amanda Heller