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Yates Paul, His Grand Flights, His Tootings

Yates Paul, His Grand Flights, His Tootings

JAMES BAKER HALL
With a Foreword by Ed McClanahan
Copyright Date: 1963
Pages: 288
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt130j3wg
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  • Book Info
    Yates Paul, His Grand Flights, His Tootings
    Book Description:

    James Baker Hall's blackly comic coming-of-age novel has been denied, by unfortunate circumstances surrounding its original 1964 publication, its rightful place alongside classics such asCatcher in the RyeandOne Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nestin the canon of essential late-twentieth-century American fiction.

    Set in Lexington, Kentucky, the story unfolds through the eyes of thirteen-year-old Yates Paul. He becomes consumed with revelations about his inattentive father's loneliness, his grandmother's stormy relationship with his boisterous alcoholic uncle, and the frustration of being the best photography assistant in town when no one else knows it. In pursuing his career and falling in love with women twice his age, the precocious Yates falls back on Walter Mittyesque daydreams to cope with a frequently humorous, sometimes dark, world. Long respected among literary insiders, sought after but nearly impossible to obtain, this "lost" classic will finally reach the wider audience it deserves.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-5870-9
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-6)
  2. More Grand Flights! More Tootings!
    (pp. 7-8)
    Ed McClanahan

    I have loved James Baker Hall’sYates Paul, His Grand Flights, His Tootingsfor forty years, and rereading it now has reminded me of just how much I love it still. It’s a wonderful book—beautifully written, sprightly and spry and full of surprises, by turns hilarious and deeply touching, daring in the context of its times, intelligent (like Yates himself) almost to a fault.

    Yates Paulwas originally published by World Publishing Company in 1963. World’s expectations for the book were high, and there was an advance sale to Avon Books of the paperback rights. But when the novel...

  3. Yates was a frail little boy
    (pp. 9-21)

    Yates was a frail little boy, delicate and blond, with a whopping set of buck teeth. He figured that he had it like this: he was sitting on his haunches in a closet, and when you met him for the first time it was as though you innocently opened the door to get your wrap and there he was hunkered down in and among the coats. He looked as though sometime in the huggermugger night his face had made one concerted effort to jump out of his head. He hoped that you wouldn’t slam the door, that you’d come to...

  4. Yates spent
    (pp. 22-41)

    Yates spent as much time around his father’s studio, which was only five minutes away by bicycle, as he spent at home. Aside from his grandmother’s, it was the only place he had to go. In a lot of ways he felt more at home there than in the lonesome house; even when his father was out on a job, as he was a good part of the day, there was always somebody around and something doing. During the summer he was there more than his father was. He loved just to hang around, to study old photography magazines and...

  5. During the summer
    (pp. 42-56)

    During the summer that Yates turned thirteen he worked in the studio full time. Like everything else he did, there was nothing casual about it—it was a project from the start, designed to save his father’s business. The first thing he did was start keeping regular hours. Both his father and Jane made a miserable show of getting things under way in the morning. She was supposed to be at work at nine, but she never showed up before nine-fifteen, and always took a nap at the desk after she got there; and his father, who stayed out until...

  6. The afternoons
    (pp. 57-83)

    The afternoons were different. Spent pretty much alone and at work, the mornings were as private and as quiet as the darkroom; but with Lee Allen around the afternoons, at least during the first part of that summer, were full of talk and excitement.

    When Yates got back from lunch, his father was usually there, sitting on the couch reading the paper or his mail. They didn’t speak. Lee Allen looked up at him, tacitly promising to get him back for all the noise he’d made that morning, and Yates looked back, whistling nonchalantly as he passed through the office...

  7. From five-thirty
    (pp. 84-112)

    From five-thirty or so, when Lee Allen came home and started supper, until eight or eight-thirty, when he went out again, was the best time of the day as far as Yates was concerned. It always had been, for as long as he could remember. He was usually upstairs playing The Game, an elaborate imitation basketball game that had been going on for years. As he bounded back and forth across the hall between the two rooms, he heard the icebox being opened and closed, dishes and silverware being put on the table, the tap at the sink being turned...

  8. Yates ran away
    (pp. 113-133)

    Yates ran away that night. From G-maw’s he went home, packed some things, and ran away. Instead of catching a Greyhound he went in a phone booth at the station and looked up Jane’s address. Without calling to see if she was there or to tell her he was coming, he picked up his suitcase and started walking. It was over a mile to her place and with the heavy bag he was a long time getting there. It was nearly eleven o’clock when he rang the bell.

    Jane wanted to know who it was before opening the door. “Me....

  9. Look,” yates said
    (pp. 134-168)

    Look,” yates said

    “What’s that?” Jane asked.

    “A key.”

    “A key?”

    “A key to the place.”

    “Well then, he’s finally admitted you’re running things. How’d it happen?”

    “He’s not such a bad guy. He’s just got a lot to worry about, that’s all. He’s not that way at home.”

    “I should hope not,” she said. “Sit down and tell me about it.”

    “I can’t, I got a lot of work to do.” Yates walked back and forth in front of her desk, balancing the key on his forehead. “He said I have to give it back after the Beatyville Oil...

  10. In the middle
    (pp. 169-191)

    In the middle of the afternoon Yates popped out of the darkroom, bounded over to the couch, and got right down in his father’s face. “Look,” he said, as though he had something in his hand, which he hadn’t; or as though he were pointing at something, which he wasn't; or as though he were going to add something, which he didn’t. “Look,” he said again, and that was all.

    Lee Allen glanced suspiciously at Jane and then looked up at him. And kept looking at him, silently, expectantly, for some time. But all Yates did was stand there, silently,...

  11. Yates went to work
    (pp. 192-206)

    Yates went to work the next morning intending to develop and print the team’s picture before noon. He couldn’t keep his father from finding out about the camera sooner or later, but at least he could get the team’s picture finished and out of the studio before it happened.

    When he got into the darkroom he noticed that the negative dryer was open, and on examination he found it full of strange negatives. His first reaction was indignation.Hewas running the darkroom.Hedid the developing and printing. If his father wandered in and dabbled around it would foul...

  12. Later that same night
    (pp. 207-225)

    Later that same night, after midnight it was, Lee Allen tried to have a talk with Yates. After locking up and turning out all the lights downstairs, he came up and sat down on the twin bed. The only light in the room came from the streetlight outside the window. For a while he didn’t say anything—he just sat there in the dark, breathing slowly, yates was pretending to be asleep. He was lying on his side with his back turned and his face in the shadows.

    Finally Lee Allen said, “Yates?” in a soft voice.

    Yates didn’t answer....

  13. Several days later
    (pp. 226-240)

    Several days later, during the middle of the afternoon, his father knocked unexpectedly on the darkroom door. Yates was piddling around getting ready to develop negatives, his mind was off somewhere, but for some reason the instant his father knocked on the door he stopped in his tracks and his mind locked into place on that night he’d hidden in the darkroom. Perhaps it was the sudden unexpected association of his father and the darkroom; or perhaps it was the strange way he knocked, lightly and rather self-consciously, as if it were the first time he’d ever done it, enough...

  14. Yates was up at six
    (pp. 241-259)

    Yates was up at six that Saturday. He wasn’t supposed to meet Jane until nine-thirty, but he got to the studio before seven. He had to load holders; and he wanted to check out everything he was taking. He wasn’t going to let any of his father’s battered equipment mess him up. And he wasn’t going to let his father mess up any of the equipment. The loaded case was right there where his father said it would be. Yates opened it and unloaded everything, lining the flash bulbs up in size places on the shooting platform.

    He blew out...

  15. When they got back
    (pp. 260-282)

    When they got back to the studio Yates dumped the equipment on the shooting platform and went into the darkroom. Before long Jane knocked on the door. He asked what she wanted. She said she just wanted to talk. He told her that he didn’t want to talk—but that she could come in if she wanted to. She did. He was sitting in the dark. She asked if she could turn on a light. He said he’d rather she wouldn’t; but she could if she wanted to. She left the door open a little instead.

    For what seemed to...