Edson

Bill Morrissey, Author
Bill Morrissey, Author Alfred A. Knopf $23 (0p) ISBN 978-0-679-44629-3
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 04/01/1996
Hardcover - 978-0-517-17430-2
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Folksinger/songwriter Morrissey's intimate, cigarette- and booze-soaked first novel, set in the New Hampshire mill town of Edson during one snowy winter, centers on 37-year-old Henry Corvine, a once critically acclaimed musician. Now drifting along and recently divorced, Henry hasn't made a record in years and no longer admits to ""the desire or the drive"" to perform. A summer job aboard a salmon-fishing boat in Alaska has left him feeling strapped and old. An old friend, whose music has cracked the pop charts, contacts Henry about working with her, but, unsure of his talent, Henry hesitates. Economics, and the encouragement of Caroline Laine, a young waitress who lives across the hall in Henry's seedy apartment hotel, keep up the pressure, though, and force him to face the truth about his art and what it means to him. The working-class town of Edson is alive on the page, as a once richly familiar place of sustenance for Henry that has now become a dead end. The effect on the town of the mill's abrupt closing is treated too shallowly, however, and timid Caroline, who bravely wears sexy lingerie, seems a male fantasy. Henry, wrestling with his demons while trying to acknowledge his artistic gifts, makes up for the novel's flaws. Beneath mundane details, Morrissey makes it clear how music once fed Henry's soul. (Apr.)
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