Clyde Edgerton: Vietnam Vet, Jet Pilot, and . . . Small Town Housewife

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Clyde Edgerton: Vietnam Vet, Jet Pilot, and . . . Small Town Housewife

Few men have attempted to write using a woman's voice. Those who do choose to use the persona of a woman often fail in their effort, creating a character who does not quite sound authentic. Critics usually note the author's inadequacies and point out difficulties when an author tries to capture the voice of a person of the opposite gender. One exception is Clyde Edgerton in his first novel, Raney. The voice of Raney seems genuine and Edgerton received great acclaim for his novel. Public acceptance of Edgerton speaking as a young woman may be attributed to a number of factors involving the attitudes of the author, of the character, and of critics.

Those who
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In an interview with Thomas Kozikowski, Edgerton explains that he grew up amid a crowd of twenty-three aunts and uncles, and the family gathered often for meals. While the uncles formed a taciturn group on the porch, the aunts filled the kitchen with lively conversation, gossip, and family stories. Edgerton gravitated to the kitchen and listened eagerly to his convivial aunts. He paints such a loving picture of these inspirational ladies that he seems entitled to be included in their circle. Perhaps his good intentions shine through in the character of Raney.

Edgerton himself adds one disturbing note about his writing as a woman, however. In an interview with Kenn Robbins, Edgerton stated that his chief worry in creating the character Raney was that she did not seem to be defined clearly enough as a woman. In an attempt to show readers that Raney is a real woman, he went back through the manuscript and added several places where Raney mentions having her hair done. That statement should raise a few eyebrows. Although Edgerton seems to have had his tongue firmly in his cheek, some critic should have noted that a woman does not gain her identity from her beautician.

Another possibility of Edgerton's success in using a womanþs voice lies within the character of Raney. She does seem authentic. While Raney is not an admirable woman -- she is a bigot, narrow-minded, and

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