Western Swing

Tim Sandlin, Author
Tim Sandlin, Author Henry Holt & Company $19.45 (372p) ISBN 978-0-8050-0458-8
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
Loren Paul, a 35-year-old writer of westerns, sits on an isolated Wyoming mountaintop in a semi-delirious state from a long fast, waiting for divine guidance. He is literally waiting to hear from God, since he feels that God has a lot of explaining to do. Loren wants to know, for example, why his only child disappeared on a camping trip many years ago, a tragedy that led to the death of his first wife. And why has his second and current wife, Lana Sue, a sexy and free-spirited country-and-western singer, taken to the open road, forsaking their idyllic domestic nest? Despite the end-of-the-line sense of desperation evoked by this situation, this is a droll and high-spirited novel about the eccentric lives and loves of Loren and his footloose wife. For just as Loren sits on a mountaintop aerie reflecting on his life, Lana Sue, whose past seems the embodiment of the country-and-western songs she adores, is off on her own odyssey of self-discovery. Her route, however, is a little different: she seeks headlong solace in the sweet oblivion of one-night stands, although quickly gets herself entangled in a relationship that tests her plucky cowgirl mettle to its fullest. There is something of the loopy invention and drollery of Tom Robbins in Sandlin's voice. Particularly in the early parts of the book, Sandlin (Sex and Sunsets) overindulges his fondness for whimsy, but once the narrative gets underway he reveals solid storytelling talent and the ability to create two vividly sympathetic characters whose adventures have something of the grit and pathos of a funky country-and-western ballad. (April)
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