Woodrow's Trumpet

Tim McLaurin, Author W. W. Norton & Company $17.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-393-02701-3
McLaurin offers in this second novel (after The Acorn Plan ) a group of richly drawn and memorable characters for whom we feel great affection despite troublesome flaws in the book. Three misfits band together to form a family that the townspeople--both old residents and new--of Oak Hills, N.C., cannot understand or accept. Woodrow Bunce, a gentle giant not right in the head since Vietnam, is descended from one of the rich, land-owning local families; he confounds his prosperous brothers by living independently on his small farm despite encroaching yuppie developments. When Nadean, a black former hooker and junkie, and Ellis, an orphan raised in a nearby boy's home, move in with Woodrow, the three find peace for the first time in their miserable lives. But Woodrow's gift to Nadean of a live palm tree and a pretend beach (complete with plastic flamingos) inflames the self-righteous Oak Hills newcomers. Zoning laws are used as a weapon against the bewildered Woodrow, and ugliness, violence, and tragedy ensue. Despite McLaurin's missteps here--he begins the story with an initially incomprehensible sequence of five ``important'' scenes; he paints his earnest yuppies with overly broad and banal satiric strokes; he neglects to tie up loose plot lines (what happens to the marijuana-growing Lupo brothers, or with Benson Bunce's career?)--this book has many moments that are truly wonderful. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/1989
Release date: 08/01/1989
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-1-878086-25-9
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