The Good Time Gospel Boys

Billy Bittinger, Author St. Martin's Press $15.95 (280p) ISBN 978-0-312-00013-4
Set during the Depression in fictional Taylor Springs, Ky., Bittinger's first novel is both laugh-out-loud funny and shockingly violent. There is no central character, and no formal storyline. Instead, the plot unfolds around the hypocrisies fostered by the town's prominent families. On the surface, the Taylors, Byrds and Philpots live quietly. Incest, adultery, homosexuality and murder are things polite people do not discuss, much less experience. That the town's black population tends to be light-skinned, and the white citizens dark-complected, is also never mentioned. Then the Good Time Gospel Boys quartet visits Taylor Springs, inadvertently supplying the impetus that shakes the skeletons out of the closets. Bittinger's narrative teems with atmosphere, eccentric characters and bizarre incidents. There is so much going on, in fact, that readers may occasionally find themselves lost in the plethora of material. Ultimately, though, everything is brought to a solid and satisfying conclusion. (February 16)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987
Release date: 01/01/1987
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