There is an inexplicable gravity in a small town. It can be read and enjoyed like a favorite book for most of its inhabitants. Comforting are its streets and institutions, its wedding and obituary announcements. Banjo Grease is about life and death in a mill town where at each epiphany and rite of passage, the narrator yields a ration of innocence. Characters portray class as a marker as strong as race and gender, and distrust that they will ever escape in their lifetimes. Faulkner uses the term “eager fatalism.” These stories’ cumulative effect asks: When exchanging naivete for worldliness, what is lost in denying one’s past?