Atticus

Ron Hansen, Author HarperCollins Publishers $22 (0p) ISBN 978-0-06-018217-5
Demonstrating masterful versatility, Hansen, whose acclaimed Mariette in Ecstasy probed the spiritual experience--and its physical manisfestation--of a young, cloistered nun in upstate New York, writes here about Atticus Cody, a 67-year-old Colorado cattle man who goes to Mexico to retrieve the body of his younger son, an artist, alcoholic and, finally, a suicide. The story of Atticus, with elements of a murder mystery and a close focus on aspects of character generally considered to be male attributes, resembles Mariette, however, in its exploration of love in a purified and highly potent form. A deeply grieving Atticus meets Scott's friends in the town of Resurreccion and copes with the unknowns of a culture far removed from his ranch, where only recently ``carrots of ice were hanging from the roof's iron gutters.'' As the Cody family history, which includes the death of Atticus's wife (mother of Scott, and his older, successful brother) in a car accident in which Scott was driving, is gradually revealed, Atticus comes to believe that Scott's death may have been at another's hand. Effectively employed contrasts--in setting and in character, especially between honorable, disciplined Atticus and the impulsive Scott and his circle, for whom love and failure seem intertwined--carry the story through its increasingly gripping plot. A few, though central, coincidences are the only improbabilities in a story that is stunning for the credibility of its cast and their actions. $50,000 ad/promo; author tour. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/29/1996
Release date: 02/01/1996
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