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The Gambler’s Nephew, Jack Matthews

About the Author

Jack Matthews, author of Etruscan’s The Gambler’s Nephew (2011), grew up in Columbus, Ohio, and served briefly in the U.S. Coast Guard during WWII. He graduated in 1949 from Ohio State University with degrees in English Literature & Classical Greek. He married Barbara Reese in 1947 and this September they will have been married 63 years (a fact that he refers to as “disgraceful for a writer, but nobody’s perfect”). In 1964, they moved to Athens, where Matthews joined the English Department at Ohio University. During Spring 2010, he is teaching one course on his 2nd post-retirement contract, collecting old and rare books, and, of course, writing.

Find out more about Jack on his author page.

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Jack Matthews’s fiction has been praised by Eudora Welty, Tim O’Brien, Anthony Burgess, Doris Grumbach, W. P. Kinsella, Walker Percy and a host of other distinguished writers and critics. His novel, Hanger Stout, Awake! (Harcourt Brace, 1967; Hock Hocking Books, 1997) was the only book selected by NBA-Award poet, William Stafford, in an Antaeus series on “Neglected Books Of The 20th Century.” (Matthews says that with luck, it might become one of the neglected books of the millennium.)

In his latest novel, Matthews returns to the 1850s, the time of his novel, Sassafras (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1983)–a book “the young Mark Twain might write” if he came back to life, according to James Dickey, author of the best-selling novel, Deliverance. Here, in The Gambler’s Nephew, you will enter a world of slavery, abolitionist passion, murder, hypocrisy, grave-robbery, chicanery, holiness, memory, guilt and plain old-fashioned cussedness.

It’s a politically incorrect world of unrepentant capital punishment, when there were plenty of scoundrels just asking to be hanged by the neck until dead, thus coming as close as they could ever get to being civilized. In contrast, however, the reader will come upon the beauty and grandeur of the old steamboats plying the Ohio River, along with people troubled by such grand irrelevancies as love and tenderness.  In short, The Gambler’s Nephew brings us a world as richly confused as our own–familiar yet different . . . and as alive as living can get.

Publication date: July 2011