Voices on the Brink: A Border Tale

Tom Marshall, Author Faber & Faber $9.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-571-12979-9
In a small Canadian town of the late 1950s and early '60s, Ron Benson and his high school friends struggle for even a precarious balance between youth and adulthood. On one of their regular jaunts across the border to Buffalo and its bars, Ron meets Lisan, a young woman with whom he becomes obsessed. He faces a relentlessly escalating series of conflicts, grappling with love, sex, death and the disintegration of friendship, along with adolescent angst. ``What did people do with `adult' life?'' Ron wonders as his father sickens with a terminal illness. The narrative glides fluidly from first to third person, from a diary entry to a suicide note, from a dream to a poem. Ron tellingly refers to Marilyn Monroe as ``a fiction and an icon.'' Symbols such as Monroe, the roaring Niagara Falls and the threat of atomic bombs oppress Ron; here, rites of passage require iconoclasm. Marshall ( Adele at the End of the Day ) far surpasses the standard coming-of-age tale with this gripping, often troubling novel. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1989
Release date: 09/01/1989
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