Love Warps the Mind a Little

John Dufresne, Author W. W. Norton & Company $23 (320p) ISBN 978-0-393-04013-5
A wizard's brew of broad humor and genuine tragedy marks Dufresne's second novel, as it did his acclaimed first (Louisiana Power & Light, 1994). Narrator Lafyette (Laf) Proulx is a world-class schlemiel. Approaching 40, he knows only one thing-that he wants to write. So he quits his job as a high-school teacher, leaves his wife and moves in with his mistress, taking with him only his dog and his typewriter. Dufresne has a ball with Laf's literary follies, especially the rejection letters from journals like Pond Apple and Incomplete Flower (""We publish writing that counts, friend, that redefines and reshapes the world""). He also goes to town with Laf's manic brainstorming for story ideas-one of which, a tale of middle-aged lovers, evolves into an effective mirror of Laf's own personal development. Events turn serious when Laf's mistress, whose family is a marvel of violent and violently funny dysfunctionality, discovers she has cancer. Laf is thrust into the role of caretaker, a job for which he seems eminently unsuited. The novel never quite reaches the tragicomic heights of its predecessor, and in making Laf see the world through the lens of his literary ambition (or pretension), Dufresne has to ward off a certain parochial preciousness. But for all that, he weaves a powerful spell, proving himself once again a writer of great energy and a big, open heart. Major ad/ promo; author tour.(Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/20/1997
Release date: 01/01/1997
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 472 pages - 978-0-7838-8127-0
Paperback - 315 pages - 978-0-452-27898-1
Paperback - 978-0-393-10166-9
Paperback - 315 pages - 978-0-393-33095-3
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-393-28579-6
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