Hyannis Boat and Other Stories

W. D. Wetherell, Author Little Brown and Company $15.95 (185p) ISBN 978-0-316-93169-4
Terror and humor are interwoven into nine stories that spread before us the crazy quilt of America's consumer culture. Like an oral historian, Wetherell ( The Man Who Loved Levittown ) brings to life key events of his time through the voices of his characters; from the high point of American hopes and power at the end of WW II, to the disillusionment of Vietnam and finally, to the pervasive kitsch of the 1980s. His characters move around in a fog, confused, without the mental equilibrium that tradition provides. They are often disconnected from their spouses and families, trying to start life afresh far from the cities of their youth, only to be confronted by new, and more alarming, difficulties. They long for a purity and tranquility that is increasingly impossible to find. The only people who flourish in these stories are the scoundrels and the insensitive: a traveling salesman makes his fortune swindling people into buying air; a psychotic punk-rock deejay named Dr. Weird terrorizes a gentle lover of classical music. In ``The Mall: A History,'' a shopping mall built on the spot where Lindbergh began his famous flight is the scene of a boy's first shattering disappointment. The title story takes place on V-E Day, as a young man has a ghostly encounter that presages his barren future. Wetherell's language betrays the anger of a biblical prophet and the abandon of a Lenny Bruce. He offers us a vision of what we have lost, and of what it will take to undo the damage. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/30/1989
Release date: 05/01/1989
Genre: Fiction
Discover what to read next