A guilt-ridden father drumming World War II history into his son, a vet turned desperado, a golfer gone temporarily mad--all of Lee Abbott's bold and reckless characters negotiate the bounds of acceptable human behavior with frequent missteps.
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The same characters keep turning up in the 14 stories in this collection. They're the men of Deming, N.M.car salesmen, World War II veterans, teachers and bank officers. Golf at the Mimbres Valley Country Club is central to their lives, as is liquor, the relationship of fathers and sons, and an exuberant, lush style of speech. Sensitive to the humor and dark disappointments at the heart of these lives, Abbott endows their basic ordinariness with epic, often hilariously comic, qualities. Most of the stories are set in the flat and dry, not quite harsh land of the Southwest; a few take place in Vietnam and tell of Deming boys dealing with the extremities of war; and one is both a war-time and science-fiction tale. While the author's imagination is extravagant and his ear for the ebullient and generous speech of his characters true, they often speak in the same voice, diminishing each story's individual punch. Abbott writes in the short-story form ( Love Is the Crooked Thing is an earlier collection), but, for this volume, the novel genre might have been more appropriate.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.
This is Abbott's third collection (his previous collections include The Heart Never Fits Its Wanting ( LJ 12/1/80). Like the American Southwest that is their setting, these 14 stories are scorched and crude and sometimes poignantly beautiful. A main character, variously named, threads through many of them. He has grown up in New Mexico and returned there to live, and his spiritual deformity perhaps reflects the deformity of our culture. Thus, in "The End of Grief" a young man who has grown up on a ranch is marked by his father's obsession with the death of his brother on the Bataan Death March of 1942. In some of the stories Abbott becomes both maudlin and macho and even his black humor doesn't save his prose from sounding like a country-western lyric in which everyone is betrayed by faithless love. But in the best of these stories Abbott is clear-eyed, compassionate, funny, and lyrical.Marcia Tager, Tenafly,
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Harpercollins, 1988. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0060971371
Book Description Harpercollins, 1988. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0060971371
Book Description Harpercollins, 1988. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110060971371
Book Description Harpercollins. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0060971371 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW6.1022180