OF THE BABY NAME LEONARD
Leonard Bast is a character in E. M. Forster’s classic 1910 novel, Howards End. Poor Leonard – he can’t catch a break, as they say. Born and raised at the lower end of the middle class, Leonard longs for culture and education, while toiling along as a lowly clerk. On the home front, he doesn’t do much better, being married to a former prostitute, a situation that bodes ill for improving one’s social standing. When Leonard meets the Schlegel sisters, he is delighted with their company, and even follows their advice regarding his employment, with disastrous results. Even more disastrous is his dalliance with the younger sister, Helen, which results in her pregnancy, unknown to him. Some time later, Leonard appears at the Wilcox family estate, Howards End, to seek information about Helen from her sister, Margaret. He is guilt-ridden and apologetic, subsisting now on handouts and only continuing in his wretched existence in order to provide for his wife. Because of a misunderstanding on his part, Charles Wilcox attacks Leonard, resulting in an accident that leads to Leonard’s fatal heart attack. It is our hope that somewhere in the hereafter, poor Leonard will learn that Charles Wilcox went to jail and that Leonard’s own child by Helen will inherit Howards End. That might make up for some of the indignities he suffered.
The revered New York Times bestselling author, recognized as “America’s greatest crime writer” (Newsweek), brings back U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens, the mesmerizing hero of Pronto, Riding the Rap, and the hit FX series Justified. With the closing of the Harlan County, Kentucky, coal mines, marijuana has become the biggest cash crop in the state. A hundred pounds of it can gross $300,000, but that’s chump change compared to the quarter million a human body can get you—especially when it’s sold off piece by piece. So when Dickie and Coover Crowe, dope-dealing brothers known for sampling their own supply, decide to branch out into the body business, it’s up to U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens to stop them. But Raylan isn’t your average marshal; he’s the laconic, Stetson-wearing, fast-drawing lawman who juggles dozens of cases at a time and always shoots to kill. But by the time Raylan finds out who’s making the cuts, he’s lying naked in a bathtub, with Layla, the cool transplant nurse, about to go for his kidneys. The bad guys are mostly gals this time around: Layla, the nurse who collects kidneys and sells them for ten grand a piece; Carol Conlan, a hard-charging coal-mine executive not above ordering a cohort to shoot point-blank a man who’s standing in her way; and Jackie Nevada, a beautiful sometime college student who can outplay anyone at the poker table and who suddenly finds herself being tracked by a handsome U.S. marshal. Dark and droll, Raylan is pure Elmore Leonard—a page-turner filled with the sparkling dialogue and sly suspense that are the hallmarks of this modern master.
Ruth Leonard is a character in John Updike’s acclaimed 1960 novel, Rabbit, Run, first of the four novels featuring his protagonist, Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom. Ruth is an atheistic, humorous, part-time prostitute who becomes Rabbit’s lover and is impregnated by him, only to be casually dumped as he returns to his own pregnant wife. Not a good time in the history of womankind to be a single mother, a prostitute, an atheist – any of the above. Ruth, however, decides to forge ahead with her pregnancy on her own, and tells the groveling Rabbit to get lost unless he wants to commit to her. For this she earns our undying regard.