Serious Living

Tom Lorenz, Author Viking Books $17.95 (213p) ISBN 978-0-670-81060-4
Four years out of high school and still living at home in a working-class section of Chicago, Richie Kohler is a bright, adventurous, essentially kindhearted and very innocent young man, straining at the familial bit. Against his wishes and inclinations, Richie works in a desultory fashion in the family business, a down-on-its-heels neighborhood grocery started by grandfather Hans and now run by his father, Big Joe Kohler. Feelings are strained between Big Joe and his dissatisfied son. A former football hero, Big Joe has never become reconciled to Richie's disinterest in sports or the young man's disdain for what he calls the ""dinky little grocery store.'' While Big Joe's disappointments have led him deep into the bottle, Richie finally breaks loose by cutting all ties with his family and going to work as a bartender at a swanky Chicago nightspot run by the mob and managed by his old neighborhood buddy and incipient hood, Mars. Under his friend's swinging tutelage, he embarks on a crash course in hedonistic living, a series of hairpin curves along a fast-track route that eventually lands a bruised but more worldly Richie back in the nest. Lorenz has a wry familiarity with the life and lifestyle of inner-city Chicago, and a talent for investing his characters with an appealing, often poignant grace. This novel confirms the promise of his first book, Guys Like Us. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1988
Release date: 06/01/1988
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