Dance Real Slow

Michael Grant Jaffe, Author Farrar Straus Giroux $20 (0p) ISBN 978-0-374-13466-2
Gordon Nash is a young attorney living in small-town Kansas, raising his four-year-old son, Calvin. His wife, who left him two years ago to find herself, now finds herself in Texas. Gordon is in Kansas as if by accident-he got a job in a law firm run by some college buddies, but he welcomes the exile as a means to escape the emotional clutches of his cold and distant father, who racked up a stellar career as a college basketball coach in Ohio before recently passing away. Divorces and small-claims cases fill Gordon's day; by evening he tends to Calvin until he takes over as basketball coach at the local high school, eventually falling in romantically with Zoe, the older sister of one of his players. Gordon meanders along, seemingly stunned by his single fatherhood and the absence of his world-beating father, until his ex arrives on the scene for a brief bout of guilt and a stab at kidnapping. Jaffe's first novel shapelessly renders this emotional vortex, relying on a lot of ""This reminds me of. . . "" transitions from the present to a past memory. Gordon's sense of parenthood seems more like a teenager's persecuted view of what family obligations entail than a genuine experience of the overburdened household. That the selfish Gordon, who is the sort of guy who allows his girlfriend to baby-sit his child and fix her own muffler, has no irony in his sense of self doesn't help Jaffe in his attempt to use single parenthood as a rite of passage. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 04/01/1996
Analog Audio Cassette - 2 pages - 978-1-55927-385-5
Hardcover - 240 pages - 978-0-7475-2504-2
Hardcover - 242 pages - 978-0-7475-2953-8
Paperback - 242 pages - 978-0-374-52829-4
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