Where This Lake Is

Jeff Lodge, Author
Jeff Lodge, Author White Pine Press (NY) $14 (184p) ISBN 978-1-877727-68-9
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""Whether poets or mechanics or (in those oh so rare instances) both, people aren't necessarily what they appear to be."" For lack of anything deeper, that maxim seems to serve as moral and motive behind this meandering, far-fetched tale about an American who shakes off his family ties to start a new life in Guatemala. Narrator Gerard Manley (""Jerry"") Hopkins has inherited three legacies from his pioneer forbears: a famous name; a hardware store in Aiken, Ohio; and a tradition of family journals that dates back to 1822. Overwhelmed by the burdens of catering to the town's dwindling population and at the same time chronicling the mediocre lives of the far-flung Hopkins clan, Jerry hits the road with his wife, Audrey. After she leaves him, he washes up on the shores of Lake Aitlan, where he opens a tourist bar. Jerry's great escape starts to fall apart when one of his employees turns up dead and the authorities want to know why. Few readers are likely to care, though none can deny the ponderous sincerity of this inchoate first novel. (July)
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