MARK PACER is an outsider from Mocking Bird, Georgia, when he arrives in Washington, D.C. for diplomatic training in 1976. His fellow Georgian, Jimmy Carter, is running for president, and the Vietnamese conflict has ended, but legacies remain from war protesters and hippies.
Mark’s academic credentials from a Southern university are brilliant, but he pronounces words like my with an accent as long as the distance from Mocking Bird to the Atlantic Ocean. Plus, in a last, angry meeting with his father, the older man berated Mark for choosing such a “highfalutin’” profession.
Maybe his father is right. Not only has Mark broken with his father, but he falls in love with a woman in his Foreign Service class who surely has no interest in a hillbilly. If that weren’t enough, Mark is the chief suspect for an act of racist vandalism against a fellow classmate. After all, he’s the one with the Southern accent, right? Should he return to the place he knows best, where his ancestors have lived for generations?
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