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At the Table of Want
by Larry Kimport
About this Book
As a much younger man I spent two years living upon the banks of the Pahang River in rural Malaysia, with the United States Peace Corps. From within the comforts of my New Jersey suburban home, I've often wondered how these two worlds might meet, especially in the context of lonesomeness, great hope and a leap of daring.
At the Table of Want is the result of that twenty-year pondering, written after much research, and a thorough scouring of the notes and journals I maintained while living in the beautiful land of contrasts.
Mostly, though, it's about a quiet boy from the Pine Barrens of southern New Jersey, happening upon an older woman on the other side of the world, a woman lost within a meaningless lifeand what they might do about one another.
About the Author
Larry Kimport grew up in north-central Pennsylvania. For the past 24 years, he has coordinated an alternative educational program for at-risk teens in suburban New Jersey.
At the Table of Want is Kimport's third novel.
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At the Table of Want, a coming-of-age love story, chronicles orphan Truman Kramer's settling into a Peace Corps assignment in a small Malaysian community, where he eventually finds himself involved with a local shopkeeper's wife, an unloved woman craving anything of her own.
As a youngster, Truman's placed with an ill-prepared, yet well-meaning aunt widowed by the Korean War. Remaining a quiet, honest boy, Truman's scarred by the loss of his mother, and moreover, by two encounters with a notorious neighborhood bully. Working as a farm hand for a local dairy farmer, he also learns much incidental wisdom from the migrant help, and from the sonless dairyman himself.
Opening with his boarding a flight bound for Southeast Asia, as a United States Peace Corps volunteer in the spring of 1980, with time Truman settles into his Peace Corps reassignment of sorts, in a small Malaysian community. As ill-prepared as his aunt, he labors as a handyman/helper/teacher for a small, all-but-forgotten home for an array of handicapped children.
At work, and having discovered a reluctant friendship in another American, Truman's willfully seduced by the shopkeeper's wife, settling into a purposeful deceit as an uncommon love grows between them. But while reckoning with his certain return home, Ling's shopkeeper husband discovers his wife's affair.
This story of loneliness and need climaxes with Truman's search for Ling, vanquished from her home in disgrace. He searches because he loves her, and because he doesn't wish to sin against humanity twice in one lifetime, his first being maiming his childhood nemesis.
This tale, At the Table of Want, is about loneliness, love and why we need each other. Larry Kimport, the author of two other novels, lived in Malaysia for two years as a young man, maintaining a journal which he relied upon for pacing this story, for world happenings, and for cultural insights regarding the Malays, the Chinese and the Indians who unequally share the tropical Malay peninsula.
Make a little room, Huck Finn and Holden Caulfield; another American son, Truman Kramer, won't be ignored.
At the Table of Want was published by Foremost Press. It can be ordered through local bookstores and at ForemostPress.com, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.com.
348 pp, $16.97