The Honk and Holler Opening Soon

Billie Letts, Author Warner Books $21.5 (290p) ISBN 978-0-446-52158-1
Letts's gently humorous second novel confirms the promise of her debut, Where the Heart Is. For 12 years, wheelchair-bound restaurateur and Vietnam vet Caney Paxton hasn't left his Sequoyah, Okla., cafe, known (thanks to a sign-maker's error) as the Honk and Holler Opening Soon. Now it's Christmas time, 1985, and for Caney and four-times married waitress Molly O, who helped raise him, the holiday looks bleak: business is slumping, overdue bills are piling up and the roof is leaking. Worried about her teenage daughter, Brenda, a country musician seeking her fortune in Nashville, Molly O is too preoccupied to recognize the romantic interest of cafe regular Life Halstead; Caney, ashamed of his part in the war, feels trapped by his wound and his painful past. But that changes when luck brings the Honk and Holler two new employees: beautiful young Crow Indian drifter Vena Takes Horse, who signs on as a carhop, and Vietnamese refugee Bui Khanh, a cook and handyman running from a guilty secret of his own. Initially skeptical of the two outsiders, Honk and Holler habitu s come to value Vena and Bui, especially after an act of violence threatens Bui's life. Even a few unresolved loose ends can't diminish the cumulative effect of this warm, sentimental tale, abundant with quirky detail and homespun wisdom, which emphasizes not only the power of romantic love but the healing powers of community as well. Author tour. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1998
Release date: 06/01/1998
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Hardcover - 978-0-446-16650-8
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