In a gentle and winning first novel by the author of The Cage Keeper and Other Stories , 17-year-old Leo Suther faces some difficult growing up in the summer of 1967. Leo lives in a small Massachusetts town in the Connecticut River Valley with Jim, his father. This summer, he will learn to play blues harmonica from Jim's best friend, Ryder, and will win and then lose the daughter of a self-proclaimed communist who is, to complicate matters, his boss on a construction crew. Against the distant rumbles of the Vietnam War, Leo comes of age, discovers his late mother's inner life through her diaries, suffers ups and downs in his sometimes confused love for girlfriend Allie and impulsively rushes into a series of dangerous decisions, culminating in his enlistment in the Army. The author makes all these developments entirely believable, and Leo's sometimes rocky but deeply loving relationship with Jim is affecting as well. Like his well-known father of the same name, Dubus is a sympathetic and compassionate chronicler of ordinary lives. He understands the rhythms of hard labor and the needs of the people who do it; the sensitivity and decency of his working-class heroes make them genuinely compelling and likable. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/29/1993 Release date: 04/01/1993 Genre: Fiction
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