Watchman Tell Us

A. B. Paulson, Author Viking Books $17.95 (344p) ISBN 978-0-670-80323-1
Housewife Lindsay Wyatt Smith initially observes in this contemporary comedy of manners that ""nothing is supposed to happen in the suburbs. That's the point, isn't it?'' But she is ultimately redeemed from suburban ennui and catapulted into forging her own destiny. With considerable wit, first novelist Paulson choreographs his characters through a labyrinth of domestic deceit: Lindsay is sleeping with artist Garth Erickson, whose lover Una left him for Dave, who's two-timing with Gina, who's also sleeping with Richard Smith, Lindsay's husband. Other coincidences abound that also serve to disruptyet resuscitatehis characters' lives. Unfortunately, the absurdities, stereotypes and ``mad swings between catastrophe and slapstick humor'' wear thin and wax self-conscious, distancing the reader from the characters. But Paulson's keen eye for detail (especially mundanities like ``that nameless chrome thing on the mop that you squeezed down against the sponge'') and supple prose mark him as a writer to watch. A portion of this novel was previously published in the Georgia Review. (April 7)
Reviewed on: 03/31/1987
Release date: 04/01/1987
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