Candy Bars: Stories

Gerald Locklin, Author
Gerald Locklin, Author Water Row Press $16.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-934953-69-6
Reviewed on: 09/04/2000
Release date: 09/01/2000
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Jimmy Abbey is a glib literature professor who enjoys getting drunk, trolling for attractive and willing undergraduate lovers, and uttering pretentious statements like ""I am suffering from a case of the existential flu."" The guy doesn't exactly endear himself to the reader, and Locklin's 19 stories span several decades of Jimmy's drinking and adultery, offering very little to sway readers from that initial obnoxious impression. Only in ""The English Girl"" does Jimmy have a relationship with a female character who is fully characterized: headstrong Ainsley, a British exchange student, ends up getting the best of the smug, crude and clueless professor, who's married to a placid, devoted wife he takes for granted. In tales like ""Turkey Day,"" in which Jimmy tends to his ailing son, an attempt is made to delineate a solid complexity and a moral code, but these efforts at depth smack of defensiveness, because Jimmy seems to be in sexual revolution fantasyland, never facing the realities of his lifestyle. (A story entitled ""I Do Not Have Herpes"" grapples with the fear of venereal disease--only to allow Jimmy to dismiss it.) In the title entry, Jimmy pompously enthuses, ""I am the poor man's Proust."" With his hard drinking, clich spouting, and undergraduate deflowering, he's more like the illiterate man's Hemingway. (Sept.)
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