By Richard Powell
“Surely one of the funniest books ever published!”
— Richmond Times-Dispatch
“One of the most affable tales of liberty without license that has appeared since You Can’t Take It With You. … a fine, knockabout extravaganza. … Mr. Powell achieves the impossible on occasion. The impossible, that is, in stimulating our willing sense of disbelief. … An awesome feat.”
—The New York Times
The novel that might have been called “Piney, Go Home!” delivers a fast-paced story, a terrific cast of characters, and dozens of memorable, laugh-out-loud moments. This 50th anniversary edition restores Richard Powell’s New York Times bestseller and includes a previously unpublished preface by the author.
Pioneer, Go Home! ranks among the most entertaining of Powell’s 19 published novels. Originally released by Scribner’s in 1959, it was the immediate follow-up to the author’s best-known novel, The Philadelphian. Like its predecessor, “Pioneer” received rave reviews, spent weeks on the bestseller lists, and was made into a popular movie (1962’s “Follow That Dream” starring Elvis Presley). The similarities end there, for with the new novel Powell chose satirical comedy over high drama—with frequently sidesplitting results.
Pioneer, Go Home! is a warm and witty tale of little man versus “Big Gummint.” Powell relates the adventures of the Kwimpers—a motley clan of New Jersey Pineys who break down on the side of a southern highway project and decide to claim squatter’s rights. Call them “hicks” or “bumpkins” if you like, but these Kwimpers are considerably more resourceful than most folks give them credit for—and ten times as stubborn! When the government orders them to vacate, Pop Kwimper gets his dander up and the die is cast. Hilarity ensues as the family defends its homestead against an onslaught of conniving bureaucrats, Mother Nature, and the mob.
You can’t help but cheer for the heroic Kwimpers as they thumb their noses at the authorities, struggle to get a business going, stand up to gun-happy gamblers, and tangle with a foxy social worker over custody of twins Eddy and Teddy. Meantime, young Toby Kwimper and the family’s endlessly resourceful “babysitter,” Holly Jones, find the time to fall in love—though it takes Toby some time to realize that Holly is “real growed up.” Fish and fishing are recurring themes in many of Richard Powell’s novels, and there’s plenty of both to go around in Pioneer, Go Home!
“The book has laughs from the first page right on through to the end.”
—San Antonio Express News
“Powell brings to the humorous novel something that is often lacking in all too many ‘funny’ stories—a few good belly laughs. … Long live the Kwimpers!”
— New Orleans Times Picayune
2009 | 280 pp/softbound