DOGS BARK, BUT THE CARAVAN ROLLS ON: Observations Then and Now

Frank Conroy, Author . Houghton Mifflin $23 (240p) ISBN 978-0-618-15468-5

Conroy (Body & Soul) delivers a running commentary on life in this collection of articles and essays, at once subtle and dazzling, written over the past 25 years. His observations range from warmly intimate (ruminations on sex and love, shooting pool as a kid) to anonymously civic (the meaning and vitality of smalltown America). In the first half of the book, he grapples with the memory of his remote father, embraces fatherhood himself and peruses the mysteries of life—especially those he finds in reading ("escape") and writing ("experiment"), and even riffs on his position as chair of the famed Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa. The second half leads readers into a foray of pieces Conroy has written on his second and well-known love, jazz. He trips into jam sessions with the Rolling Stones, waxes on his evolution as a pianist and profiles the great provocateurs in jazz. His exploration of Wynton Marsalis at 23 and later at 34 minutely reflects the arc of developments in the author's own life. Curiously, key moments in the essays resurface within each other as if in coda; the overlapping details makes reading them even more enjoyable. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 03/18/2002
Release date: 04/01/2002
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 240 pages - 978-0-544-11520-0
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