Arise and Walk

Barry Gifford, Author Hyperion Books $19.45 (156p) ISBN 978-0-7868-6013-5
If an author's ability to lay an indelible stamp on a particular time and place is any measure of merit, then Gifford deserves applause. The latest work by the author of Wild at Heart returns to the locale he's making increasingly his own--a sultry, sleazy Big Easy fueled by cheap bourbon and lit by the late-night glare of TV screens. Even the bit players in this teeming cast of hookers, cons and wildeyed street preachers rejoice in names like Wilbur ``Damfino'' Nougat or Coco Navajoa. As usual, Gifford's narrative structure sprawls as picturesquely as the French Quarter itself: a series of loosely connected vignettes bordering on the grotesque rather than a unified story line. Continuities of plot or character threaten to develop only to be interrupted by sudden swerves and flashes of random violence. The dominant theme of these lurid postcards from the bayou--the violence men do to women, and their brutal comeuppance at the hands of their victims--is keenly evoked by Marble Lesson, a visionary avenger in the Lorena Bobbit mode. Gifford's admirers will feast on this tangy jambalaya of assorted sins, while the unconverted may find that a little of his postmodern voodoo goes a long way. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/04/1994
Release date: 07/01/1994
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