Whistling in the Dark: True Stories and Other Fables

George P. Garrett, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P $19.95 (225p) ISBN 978-0-15-191313-8
Much is enjoyable and uplifting in this farrago of memoir, fable, poem and essay, most of which previously appeared in such journals as Kenyon Review and Virginia Quarterly Review . Garrett, author of novels, poetry, short fiction, biography and criticism, strides down the paths his narratives take him with careful, assertive writing. In the reflective pieces, he often allows himself the heroic poise of inspirational rhetoric. As he tells of wartime experience and legacy, the noble character of his tribe (be it defined as blood relatives or Anglo-American white men), the two one-eyed (literally) coaches from his days at the Sewanee Military Academy and Princeton, or anecdotes from other halcyon days of academe, the prose has a lithe, muscular glow. Some readers will find this glow self-serving, even pompous. Garrett's style often rides clipped, declarative rhythms that are almost Hemingwayesque, and aspects of his material--war, Europe, pugilism--demand comparison to Papa. The book's second section, ``Doing the Literary,'' indulges in backhand criticisms of certain literary figures' callowness or cowardliness, and authorial confidence begins to smell like mean arrogance. Yet for all its too readily stereotyped material and minor irritations, Garrett's voice is powerful and articulate. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1992
Release date: 06/01/1992
Genre: Nonfiction
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