The Wives' Tale

Alix Wilbur, Author, Alix Wilber, Author W. W. Norton & Company $19.95 (351p) ISBN 978-0-393-02975-8
A first novel packed with this much mesmerizing craziness is a rarity. A tale spanning four generations of the Dufore family of rural Esperance, Vt., Wilber's novel seems to have caromed off such influences as Twain, Vonnegut, Faulkner and even John Irving. Uncle Ab is doomed to burst into flames. Poor Davy is literally going soft and rotting like a piece of spoiled fruit. Bobby lives in dread of being hit by a meteor. Old Gran Marie hasn't slept in 70 years. Paul and his little son may have turned into trout. These idiosyncrasies form only a part of the patchwork heritage of the Dufore clan, and women who chose to marry a Dufore will have their hands full. Hilarity and horror overflow these pages in equal measure, sending out an intensely exuberant message that life goes on. Despite occasional confusion owing to the multitude of characters and the century-long time frame, this rich stew of a debut haunts and compels. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/29/1991
Release date: 08/01/1991
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