The Ballad of Pinewood Lake

Jory Sherman, Author Forge $21.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-312-85774-5
Best known for his epic westerns, Sherman (Grass Kingdom) takes a radical detour from his usual trail of rustlers and ranchers in his 10th novel. Set in the mountains of Southern California in the 1990s, this gloomy story follows a young family's downward spiral of alcoholism and self-destruction. Johnnie Paul is a pulp writer who flees the Los Angeles rat race, seeking sanctuary on the shores of Pinewood Lake in the mountains northeast of the city. Johnnie is a hack: he writes bad poetry and fabricates ""true"" stories for men's adventure magazines. He dreams of writing a great novel, but deep inside he knows he won't. His wife, Angela, is an alcoholic whose first husband was killed in a skydiving accident. The couple and their young son, Colin, think they are safe in the mountains, but the demons that drove them there can't be outrun. The idyllic image of Pinewood Lake is, in fact, a brittle facade: the folks there are petty, jealous, usually drunk and always dysfunctional--not an ideal environment for a family already on the edge. Sherman's portrayal of Johnnie and Angela is poignant, and Johnnie's narration starkly reveals the pain and torture of alcoholism and doomed love. No matter how much they both pretend to believe in the future, life does get worse, and tragedy finally pushes them over the edge. Sherman's characters and his powerful delivery grip the reader in an uncomfortable clinch until the final page. Despite a heavy-handed prose style, literarily this is Sherman's most ambitious novel to date. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/01/2001
Release date: 02/01/2001
Show other formats
Paperback - 166 pages - 978-1-4662-0160-6
Mass Market Paperbound - 183 pages - 978-0-8125-8879-8
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Email Address


Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.