Archive for January, 2010
At 645 pages, EVENING’S EMPIRE by Bill Flanagan is not a book to be read quickly or lightly, but then since the novel explores forty years of the changing face of the music industry, thereâ€™s a lot of material to cover. This marvelous novel is partly a trip into the nostalgic past, and partly an insiderâ€™s view of the underbelly of the music biz.
If one is asked to summarize BROTHERS, most likely the answer would be something like this: Two brothers lose each other as each tries in his own way to cope with massive change, first cultural and then economic. One gains immense wealth, the other loses hope…and his life. Yet, despite it all, their bond remains.
We actually get to meet the iconic Sheriff Ripley Wingate in Freemanâ€™s acclaimed, dialogue-driven third novel, GO WITH ME. Ripley only appears briefly â€“ at the beginning and the end â€“ but he sets the story going and his existence is something of a reassurance to the good olâ€™ woodchucks that gather and blather at Whizzerâ€™s defunct sawmill.
A scared, defiant young woman, Lillian, comes to Wingate for protection against the thuggish Blackway. She has offended Blackway and in return he has stalked her, trashed her car and killed her cat. She believes, with reason, he is going to kill her. But Wingate tells her thereâ€™s nothing he â€“ the law – can do…
Backwoods â€śsheriffingâ€ť is a holistic sort of activity, bearing little resemblance to â€śpolicing,â€ť as most people understand the concept. Vermont author Freemanâ€™s longstanding rumination on the subject steps to the fore in this wry, dry, fourth novel.
Narrator Lucian Wing, sheriff of Ambrose and 17 surrounding towns, doesnâ€™t wear a uniform and he leaves his gun in his sock drawer. He does keep the countyâ€™s expensive shotgun in the trunk of the sheriffâ€™s car, but he rarely uses the car. â€śI like my truck. Plus it saves the county money.â€ť
LYING WITH THE DEAD by Michael Mewshaw is a novel about a dysfunctional family but it is also much more than that. It is a Greek tragedy, a morality tale, a story about the conflicting and diametrically opposed emotions that grip us all, and a novel about sibling love. The novel unfolds in chapters told from the points of view of each of the children – - Quinn, Maury and Candy.
Steve Abee has created, in JOHNNY FUTURE, a character with a unique voice and energy. He represents a blend of a hyper-urbanized Holden Caulfield, sassy and street-smart, with a big-hearted and wide-eyed Huck Finn. It is no small matter that I compare Johnny Future, the character, with these two icons of American literature. I find him that compelling, his voice that unrelenting. It is a voice that becomes less concise and more shrill in the latter half of the novel, but that is to be expected, given the course of events. What else would you expect from a guy named Future, with a hooker girlfriend named America, a buddy named Jesus and sidekick called Beast? But I am getting ahead of myself.