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Redneck Riviera

Armadillos, Outlaws and the Demise of an American Dream

List Price: $13.00

December 14, 2004 | Paperback |  5 x 8, 192 Pages | ISBN 9781582432960
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"A lively tale packed with swampy southern weirdness, Redneck Riviera eloquently illustrates a primal urge in all of us." —Outside Magazine

From the author of the National Book Award finalist Salvation on Sand Mountain, a quixotic, comic account of one man’s quest for a small piece of the American Dream. Every year, Dennis Covington’s father brought his family to the Gulf Coast of the Florida Panhandle, the “Redneck Riviera,” and it seemed there was no place he was happier. Florida was an intoxicant to him. In 1965 he made the only investment of his life — two and a half acres of an inland Florida development called River Ranch Acres. Years after his death, the development went bankrupt, setting the stage for a classic, often violent, confrontation over land use and property rights. Deed in hand, Dennis Covington journeys into the Wild West of the Redneck Riviera to claim his only inheritance. His quest charts a dangerous course: his life is threatened, his truck torched, and his small plot shot up and vandalized as his father’s passion to possess the land becomes his own. Redneck Riviera is a personal journey as well as a brilliant look at the clash of values that is tearing apart much of rural America in a place beyond the law.

DENNIS COVINGTON has written two novels and three works of nonfiction. His novel Salvation on Sand Mountain was a 1995 National Book Award finalist and his writing has appeared in Vogue and the New York Times. He teaches creative writing at Texas Tech University.


“A lively tale packed with swampy southern weirdness, Redneck Riviera eloquently illustrates a primal urge in all of us.” —Outside Magazine

“A rollicking good story.” —St. Petersburg Times

“Covington is a brilliant writer.” —Birmingham News

“Thanks should be given that he stayed alive to tell this strange, headstrong tale.” —Kirkus

“Rednecks, armadillos and outlaws all play only ancillary roles in National Book Award nominee Covington’s touching, meandering tribute to his father. And although the title is somewhat misleading, the American dream is front and center as two generations of the Covingtons tenaciously pursue it.” —Publishers Weekly

“In this intriguingly titled memoir and tribute to the American dream, Covington takes readers on a madcap tour of rural Florida, Texas, Alabama, and Idaho. While he explores the shifting culture and economy of the South, he also addresses his complicated relationship with his father, now deceased… That his life both mimics and transcends his father’s is no surprise. But Covington’s ironic sense of humor and masterful prose will entice readers with an interest in sociology, family dynamics, and the art of writing.” —Library Journal

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