cover image Forgiveness


Jim Grimsley, . . Univ. of Texas, $21 (145pp) ISBN 978-0-292-71669-8

Grimsley's hollow fantasy of upper-middle-class homicide has little to do with forgiveness. Three years after being laid off from his senior job at Arthur Anderson, Charley Stranger can no longer support the haute California lifestyle he and his spoiled, Botoxed wife, Carmine, are used to. Carmine wants a divorce, knowing Charley is no longer bothering to look for work, though it takes a visit from their obese banker son, Frankie, to realize the true extent of the financial damage. The fights are nasty: Carmine tells Charley he looks like "[o]ne of the fucking Teletubbies.... the purple one, the grey one." Meanwhile, Charley rehearses his violent thoughts in imaginary exchanges with famous actresses and interviewers like Barbara Walters, and in running sitcom scripts that chronicle years' of the family's mutual scorn. When Charley actually kills Carmine and Frank, the murders are described in some detail—as part of a literary tongue-in-cheek, of course. Grimsley's tale is a single-minded, scathingly unfunny look at American materialism. (Mar.)