Cameron professor celebrates publication of first novel

Cameron University’s Dr. Hardy Jones, an assistant professor in the Department of English and Foreign Languages, has released his first novel, “Every Bitter Thing.” The 185-page paperback is published by Black Lawrence Press, an imprint of Dzanc Books.

photo of book cover“Every Bitter Thing” is the gripping story of Wesley Royal, Jr. Wesley is twelve years old and he wants to believe. He wants to believe that most people in the world are better than his abusive, tyrannical father. He wants to believe that he can be stronger than his mother who quivers under this tyranny. His father wants him to be stronger as well, in body rather than in mind. So Wesley is sent to a local dojo to learn Tae Kwon Do. A predator within the dojo quickly identifies Wesley as a child raised on domestic terror -an easy mark. So begins a coming of age story that is marked by molestation and the ways in which this molestation alters the already troubled father-son relationship.

The volume is receiving high praise from around the country. “Hardy Jones writes with admirable clarity and directness about growing up under an overbearing and unapologetic father,” writes Thomas Russell, author of “Riding with the Magi.”

Moira Crone, author of “What Gets Into Us” and “Dream State,” calls it “a very readable, intense and compelling addition to the literature of difficult, harrowing childhoods.”

Tom Carlson, author of “Hatteras Blues,” says, “Hardy Jones offers us, in all-too-human detail, a diorama of a dysfunctional family. His portrait of adolescent Wesley Royal, Jr. is especially stunning, and almost painful, in its honesty. Hardy Jones writes about what he knows, intimately. This narrative has what Henry James called ‘the odor of truth.’”

This is a father/son story in which masculinity and nurturing are at odds with the unspeakable, ‘whole’ truth,” says Ken Hada, author of “The Way of the Wind.” “Hardy Jones’ novel courageously negotiates the vulnerable and the vindictive possibilities we would rather not admit. The book is full of hurt, yet it is not without hope. “

Jones holds a BA in English from Louisiana State University, an MFA from the University of Memphis, and a PhD in English from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. His fiction and nonfiction has appeared in more than 20 journals. His memoir “People of the Good God” was awarded a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts in 2001, and in 2006, his essay "Laotian New Year and Its Tradition" was the result of field research for the "New Populations Project" for the Louisiana Division of the Arts Folklife Program. He is the Director of Creative Writing at Cameron University.

 

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October 25, 2010

PR#10-201