M31 a Family Romance

Stephen Wright, Author Harmony $17.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-517-56869-9
Dash and Dot, popular fixtures on the seminar and radio call-in show circuits because of their tales of visitations from extraterrestrials from the planet M31, live in an abandoned church somewhere in the Midwest with their extended family and hangers-on. The church steeple has been fitted out with a satellite dish to scan the stars for signs of future arrivals. Into this unusual situation strays Gwen, who believes she was abducted by aliens in a shopping-mall parking lot, and Beale, her traveling partner and sometime boyfriend. Gradually discovering that all is not as it seemsfamilial relationships between the clan members, for example, being particularly cloudythe two ultimately find their own lives at risk as the imbalances slip dangerously out of control. Wright (Meditations in Green) delivers this in fragments, from a variety of viewpoints, leaving the reader appropriately unsettled throughout. Meanwhile, the descriptions etch the particulars of this madness in exceptionally striking detail: the references to a world readers can recognize, seen through the perspective of the fringe-dwelling family, render our world of media and mass culture as alien as the unseen M31. The result is an often harrowing portrait of the chaos that lurks beneath the mundane details of daily life. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/25/1988
Release date: 05/01/1988
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