Call and Response

T. R. Pearson, Author
T. R. Pearson, Author Simon & Schuster $19.45 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-63992-1
Reviewed on: 06/01/1989
Release date: 06/01/1989
As in his previous works ( A Short History of A Small Place , etc.) Pearson's latest Southern comic novel finds its form in digression: there is a story, albeit a slender one, but the book's real substance lies in its anecdotes, detours and wrong turns. Among the characters whose lives illustrate the perils of falling--and staying--in love, are middle-aged Nestor Tudor, who conceives a hopeless passion for Mary Alice Celestine Lefler; Mr. Phillip J. King, who endures with stoic patience the distemper of his wife, trapped in a seemingly permanent state of cantankerous menopause; and dozens of peripheral characters who pursue personal obsessions and humdrum tasks, all with an edge of whimsy and a redemptive hope of romance.. Many episodes, notably the opening chapter about a visit to an itinerant strip show, are constructed with narrative vigor. But Pearson's writing, in sentences that run out of breath but keep going, accumulating details as they hurtle on, is arch and strenuous, and his deliberately tangled syntax may try the reader's patience. (June)
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