Edisto is a coming of age story that draws a lot from Salinger in the voice of its intelligent, prickly protagonist. But Powell's interest in language, which will later become even more pronounced is what really separates him from the Salinger wannabes. In his more recent works, Powell plays a lot with the form of the novel. Mrs. Hollinghurst's Men only almost-barely had a plot. Edisto, like Mrs. Hollinghurst's Men, has a first person narration – voluble, rambling – but the narrative stays firmly fixed in reality. Since we're in Simon's head for the entire novel, it's lucky for the reader that he's a perceptive kid, wrestling with large issues that have long haunted the South. He feels around the intersections of race and class in his South Carolina hometown as only a teenager would, since adults have already made their peace with the status quo.