Tornado Alley

Craig Nova, Author Delacorte Press $18.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-385-29710-3
Prize-winning novelist Nova ( Incandescence ; The Good Son ) compellingly explores the dark, fatalistic love between earnest Ben Lunn, a doctor's son expert at predicting storms, and Marie Boule, who calls herself ``Christine Taylor'' (``that's a name you could fall in love with'') and trades sex for money. While young, both lovers have sexual experiences that grind them down, readying them for their mutual entrapment. Ben marries Faith, a wistful epileptic who clings to her sickness to hold her husband. Both women are ill-educated, desperate and dependent, but in Marie there is an animal wildness revealed by her cat-like pacing, by the deer she tattoos on her breast and its subtle connection to her father's poaching business. The story drives to its harrowing conclusion with an inevitability rooted in Ben's and Marie's early lives. Both have fathers loyal to the homestead (``waiting'' is a sub-theme) and restless mothers who burst out of their humdrum marriages. Nova conveys superbly the futility of his characters' lives in decaying American small towns--Ben's in California, where wind, dust and thirst dry the bones, and Marie's in Pennsylvania--while making this very stagnation seem precious once it is lost. This is riveting American tragedy comparable to that of Dreiser or Cain. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1989
Release date: 04/01/1989
Paperback - 469 pages - 978-0-440-50201-2
Paperback - 978-0-385-30078-0
Paperback - 508 pages - 978-0-9836774-4-4
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