Honky Tonk Logic

Tom Hollis, Author St. Martin's Press $23.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-312-13981-0
Truman Capote remains the avatar of white-trash sentimentality, but what his imitators often neglect is how he transformed the leaden yearnings of the low-born Southern classes into literary gold. Hollis's first novel is Tru plus technicolor-and it's not a pretty sight. Raylene Stout claims to be a hot-blooded Louisiana belle, but she's really a sort of Daisy Duke retread of Candide, slipping away from the Bible Belt toward a reckoning with destiny. After shooting and wounding her husband, Buck, Raylene hits the road and eventually lands a job in a circus, getting shot out of a cannon. She falls in with a passel of circus trash, loses her heart to hunky Armando the Aerialist, feuds with 850-pound Alice from Dallas and ends up being kidnapped by the odious Human Corkscrew, who drags her to San Francisco. Escaping, Raylene meets up with Jamie, her post-op transsexual cousin, who introduces the latter-day Alice into her tribe, which includes drag-queen Aquanette and a houseful of Hispanic ""bachelors."" When Raylene contacts husband Buck, the narrative, which has been divided between Raylene and Jamie's separate adventures, begins to coalesce, but continues to walk on the wild side. This underclass picaresque is wanting something more than Raylene's charm and Jamie's audacity-some more judicious editing, perhaps-to keep the pages flipping. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1996
Release date: 03/01/1996
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!