The Cockroaches of Stay More

Donald Harington, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P $19.95 (337p) ISBN 978-0-15-118270-1
With this wonderfully irreverent comic novel, Harington leaves off chronicling the human inhabitants of the Arkansas Ozark town of Stay More ( Lightning Bug , etc.) and turns his attention to its insect world. In depicting the cockroach community, who perambulate on gitalongs, apprehend their environment through sniffwhips and commit unwitting malapropisms about the mysterious world of Man (and Woman), Harington unleashes a sprightly, antic imagination. Among the anthropomorphic cast of characters are a lover's triangle consisting of the hero, aristocratic, hearing-impaired Squire Sam Ingledew; his loved one, lowborn, resourceful Tish Dingletoon; and his rival for her love, Archy, son of the sinning, conniving fundamentalist preacher Chid Tichborne. Speaking in colorfully juicy dialect, full of country expressions and cadences, the insects substitute two vital words for their otherwise human vocabulary: to die is to west (giving rise to such expressions as west to the world or west drunk); to be alive is to east (fertile females lay easter eggs). Their existence is influenced by the downfall of Man (in delicious irony, he is a writer who boozes too much), whom they worship as a descendant of Joshua Crust. The story contains suspense, romance, heroism, skulduggery and religious philosophizing, in a highly risible mix. Only at the end does Harington become too arch, causing the narrative to faltera small flaw in a thoroughly entertaining novel. (Mar . )
Reviewed on: 02/27/1989
Release date: 03/01/1989
Paperback - 978-0-679-72808-5
Paperback - 299 pages - 978-1-61218-124-0
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