Gotta also say that aside from the lack of gayness, the main character reminds me of Capote. In terms of precocity if nothing else.
Give it a shot. It may seem slow but it is a fucking story fer chrissakes. Give it time.
Read this (I found the Early Stories on line)
https://ia802803.us.archive.org/3/items ... pub%29.pdf
Particularly Miss Belle Rankin
He was a teenager when he wrote that.I was eight the first time I saw Miss Belle Rankin. It was a hot
August day. The sun was waning in the scarlet-streaked sky,
and the heat was rising dry and vibrant from the earth.
I sat on the steps of the front porch, watching an
approaching negress, and wondered how she could ever carry
such a huge bundle of laundry on top of her head. She
stopped and in reply to my greeting, laughed, that dark,
drawling negro laughter. It was then that Miss Belle came
walking slowly down the opposite side of the street….
I saw her many times afterwards, but that first vision,
almost like a dream, will always remain the clearest—Miss
Belle, walking soundlessly down the street, little clouds of red
dust rising about her feet as she disappeared into the dusk
I was so young that I never thought that I would ever be old, that I could ever die.