The Black Brook

Tom Drury, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $23 (319p) ISBN 978-0-395-70194-2
Drury follows his winning debut, The End of Vandalism, a laugh-out-loud funny portrait of small-town eccentrics in Connecticut, with a diffuse and unfocused attempt at, one guesses, social satire. This novel, too long, insistently not funny and seemingly enamored of the non sequitur, reads like the script for an unmade John Cassavetes film. The protagonist, Paul, is an unremarkable fellow from New England attending college in Quebec, sharing a house with Loom and Alice, his best friends, who later marry. Paul weds Mary, the widow of a man for whom he interned during the summer, filing police records in Boston. After graduation, Paul takes an accountancy job and bumbles into money laundering for one of his clients. This earns him a subpoena and eventual entry into a witness protection program, a short stay in the Pacific Northwest and then a spell in Brussels, where Mary has inherited a hotel. Paul and Mary split up, and Paul lands a newspaper job in the small New Hampshire town where Loom and Alice live. Paul has an affair with Alice, speaks with a woman's ghost (she committed suicide or drowned), goes searching for the woman's daughter, whom he finds working as a golf pro in Scotland. And so on. Since Mary is also a copier of famous paintings, Paul returns to Belgium to ask her to make a copy of Sargent's Black Brook, because (perhaps) one of the stories Paul worked on at the newspaper was about a stream that disappeared. This book will try the patience of anyone who does not equate feckless with funny. It's a tremendous disappointment from a writer once called a mixture of Keillor and Carver. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1998
Release date: 06/01/1998
Show other formats
FORMATS
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-395-95795-0
Paperback - 319 pages - 978-0-7490-0455-2
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-8021-2306-0
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

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 pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.