Winter in Florida

Edward Falco, Author
Edward Falco, Author Soho Press $18.95 (296p) ISBN 978-0-939149-40-7
Reviewed on: 06/05/1990
Release date: 06/01/1990
This first novel by an award-winning short story writer and poet is distinguished by vivid dialogue and occasionally galvanizing action, but the shallowness of its characters and an inconclusive plot will leave readers with the sense of wasted time and wasted lives as Falco's people wend their way from vague malaise to further travail. Bored by work at his father's Long Island electronics firm, 23-year-old Jesse Skyne takes off for Florida to become a groom at the Ben White Raceway under the tutelage of Winter, a beefy and sometimes dangerous redneck. Like magic--intervening scenes are disconcertingly omitted--Jesse is accepted by Winter, his sidekick Cliff and girlfriend Easy. A few scenes at the track and a lot of drugs and barroom brawling dramatize the fact that Jesse is the oddball in the group, with his collegiate, suburban upbringing; however, it's never made clear just why horse racing was the sure cure for his boredom, or why he fits into the gang of grooms at all. A flood and a grudge Winter carries against a young punk drug dealer serve no purpose but to confirm the callousness and insincerity of most characters, as well as Jesse's unwillingness to stand up for what he believes. Thin in some places, overdone with irrelevant subplots in others, this novel reads like an expanded short story--giving snapshots of characters and situations without sufficient explanation or order. (June)
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