Shine Hawk

Charles Smith, Author
Charles Smith, Author Paris Review $17.95 (367p) ISBN 978-0-945167-01-3
Reviewed on: 09/01/1988
Release date: 09/01/1988
Billy Crew, the narrator of this sprawling tale of the deep South, almost cracks up when his girlfriend Hazel Rance marries his buddy, lumberjack Frank Jackson. Instead, Billy flees Georgia and becomes a New York painter. Years later, after ditching his fashionable wife and career, he goes back to the trailer camp to confront Hazel and win her love. But he finds Frank berserk with grief and guilt over the death of his hard-drinking brother Jake, whom he may have smothered. As Frank, Hazel and Billy drive around with Jake's deteriorating corpse in a metal coffin, they have sundry escapades including a messy menage a trois and an encounter with a Creek Indian preacher-woman. Told in a series of long, digressive flashbacks that slow the narrative, this novel is, at its best, a haunting, incantatory meditation on sin and salvation, loss, love and the need to go on. Smith, extending the territory explored in his first novel, Canaan , gives us in Billy Crew a seeker who returns home only to discover that he went back to say goodbye. First serial to Harper's and Paris Review. (September)
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