Those lovelorn and weary travelers who find their way to the dead-end road otherwise known as Preacher's Lake, Maine, come expecting to take a break from their hectic, hard-to-make-sense of lives. Escape turns to discovery, then commitment as they find in this tiny coastal town all the meaning and miracles their lives were previously lacking. The large and lively cast of this comic, poignant novel include a Downeast version of St. Francis (Slim Riley, the immesely tall keeper of the local landfill), a distressed single mom, a burned-out local beauty, a mismatched lesbian couple, and a passionate, though unconventional young minister, among others. As the paths of these delightful characters cross and recross, the residents of Preacher's Lake knit themselves into a real community. Reminiscent of such recent treasures as Elizabeth McCracken's The Giant's House and Alice Hoffman's Illumination Night, Preacher's Lake is the story of unlikely love triumphing over all.
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In a sluggish second novel from Vice (Reckless Driver, 1995), a politically correct band of lonely hearts find love and meaning in a small town in coastal Maine. More a collection of events linked by time, place, and characters than a novel with distinctive protagonists, the story is told in a sequence of short segments, a device that not only makes it harder to keep track of the various characters and their current activities but vitiates what little dramatic tension there is. Among those residing in isolated Preacher's Lake, a decaying community with a boarded-up church and scanty employment, are Slim Riley, a gawky man with a heart of gold who takes care of the local dump; Janesta Curtis, who yearns for excitement and the bright lights; her mentally retarded daughter Crystal, who watches The Wizard of Oz over and over again; recently divorced Lizzy, a nurse, who yearns to have a child; Nelly, a lesbian farmer with troubling memories of her past; and Michael, Kaye, and their daughter Aran, who are building a house in the woods. The group of newcomers who set the plot in motion include Carol, still grieving over the death of her lover Annie; homeless and unemployed Rita, with her biracial child Rainey; and novice pastor Joe. As the months pass, Slim marries Janesta, who soon leaves him to take care of Crystal; Lizzy has a brief affair with the just separated Michael; and Nelly takes in Rita. Following an accident, Rita, also a lesbian, must struggle to run the farm in Nellys absence. Meanwhile, she finds herself falling in love with Carol. Happy outcomes largely follow, many spurred by Pastor Joe, who opens up the old church, preaches love, tolerance, and forgiveness, and brings the community together. Overall, too nice a place, in too nice a book featuring too nice an ending. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
Vice (Reckless Driver) brings pizzazz to the cast of small-town types who people the fictional Maine town of her title. These include the regulars at the diner; the bachelor who lives with his mother; the loose waitress with her second child on the way; lesbian couples in various stages of relationship; a provincial, glad-handing politician; and newcomers escaping from their pasts and hoping to find redemption in a rural place that makes few demands on them beyond survival. Luckily, Vice salts these stereotypes with such originals as Lizzy, a middle-aged, infertile nurse at the local clinic who sees countless unexpected and unwanted pregnancies; Crystal, a slow-witted adolescent who seems to have the gift of prophecy; Slim, a hapless loner in charge of the town dump, who finds himself the sole support of another man's children. Like Garrison Keillor, Vice displays a knack for delving into small-town life and intertwining disparate stories into a cohesive idiosyncratic world where everyone (despite obvious differences in age, race, profession, education and sexual orientation) is essentially looking for the same thing: a safe home, family, belonging. With an adroit mix of humor and pathos and a sure grasp of vernacular speech and gossip, Vice creates a world where readers can spend quality time.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Arrow Books Ltd, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 99278871
Book Description Arrow Books Ltd, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0099278871