Abbott and Avery

Robert W. Shaw, Author Viking Books $16.95 (307p) ISBN 978-0-670-81624-8
Although it bears superficial resemblance to Kramer vs. Kramer, this first novel is altogether a more thoughtful and well-written work. Abbott and Avery are roommates, though Abbott is in his 50s and Avery is just a few weeks old. Avery is the illegitimate son of Abbott's daughter, who needs a year to finish college and to sort out her feelings for the child's father. Abbott also has some sorting out to do: his wife has left him, and his career as a journalist is going stale. Like the grandson whom he has volunteered to raise, he hungers for affection, attention and time to grow. The narrative limns their time together in a way that will engage readers' minds and sentiments, as Shaw uses their developing relationship to explore what being human is all about. A number of peripheral characters, each in the process of being rebornAbbott's wife is becoming an artisan, a newspaper buddy is ""revitalizing'' his life with drugs and teenage girlsadd to the book's extraordinary authenticity. A journalist himself, Shaw has a fine eye for the kind of telling details that vivify his characters and touch the heart. (August 12)
Reviewed on: 08/04/1987
Release date: 08/01/1987
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