Book Review by Roy E. Perry: “Polar” by T. R. Pearson


Editor’s Note: The self-described “amateur philosopher of Nolensville” is at it again! Roy E. Perry, who reviewed books for “The Tennessean” and “Nashville Banner” for thirty years, returns to “Underground Nashville” with the review of another work by Southern novelist/humorist T.R. Pearson. Enjoy!


As in his other works, T. R. Pearson’s eight novel, Polar (2002), is not so much about the destination as the fun of the journey. Pearson wanders down many a bypath and, by taking the road less traveled, gets all but lost in his vagabond detours. His rabbit chasings, however, are so hilarious that one is delighted by his peregrinations.

Set in the Virginia uplands bordering the Alleghenies, Polar features an abundance of Pearson’s quaint, quirky characters—lowlifes, white trash, and ne’er-do-wells—such as Clayton, “a creature of abject sloth,” who survives on saltines, pork fat, and burly tobacco, and who has a penchant for pornography.

When Angela Denise Dunn, a three-year-old child with beautiful blonde curls and cobalt eyes, wanders into Homer Blaine State Park and fails to return home, local authorities organize a search party.

Enter deputy sheriff Ray Tatum and his sidekick Kit Carson, whom we met in Pearson’s seventh novel Blue Ridge. Described as “a handsome black woman” and “a comely Negro with a talent for kung fu,” Kit causes a significant rise of testosterone among the male members of Appalachia.

Reenter Clayton, who has undergone a “spiritual transformation” and sworn off pornography. By channeling a polar explorer named “Titus,” Clayton now has the gift of eerie prognostication. A mystical seer not unlike Nostradamus, he utters cryptic prophecies of future events. Troubled people looking for advice flock to his house, where they puzzle over what looks like a crab (and turns out to be an outline of Antarctica) that Clayton is drawing on the wall.

Meanwhile, Angela’s mother, Gloria Dunn, has become a celebrity on right-wing TV and talk-radio shows, which Pearson devastatingly parodies. “That Dunn” (Pearson’s typical way of describing his characters) employs thespian skills to portray a suffering, victimized, saintly woman and professional mourner, grieving melodramatically for her lost child while savagely spewing her vitriol denouncing the sad moral decline of America and humankind.

Some readers may not care for Polar‘s unorthodox, rambling plot construction, but the author’s descriptions of place and locale is spot-on, and his portraits of seedy characters and their backwoods palaver mark Mr. Pearson as one of our funniest contemporary literary artists.

For other book reviews by Roy E. Perry, please visit:

David M. (Dave) Carew is writer/editor of “Underground Nashville” and the author of the novels “Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville” and “Voice from the Gutter,” both now available at and Dave is also a freelance book editor, publicist, seminar and workshop leader, journalist, and advertising / marketing / public relations writer.

Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville by Dave Carew—which was praised by The Tennessean as “beautiful, haunting, powerful”—is now available in an all-new paperback edition. For more information, please visit:

Do you want to help homeless people in Nashville learn culinary arts and other employment skills that provide a specific, effective path off the streets? Please visit (link below) and consider making a financial contribution. Any amount is very helpful and appreciated. Thank you.


Editor’s Note: “Underground Nashville” covers artists, authors, musicians, poets, political figures, and other compelling people and happenings not typically covered by the mainstream Nashville media. It also presents reflections and commentary from an underground/indie perspective, offering “thoughts from the shadows of a great American city.”

Dave Carew



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: