Eminent Gardeners: 2some People of Influence and Their Gardens, 1880-1980

Jane Brown, Author Viking Books $22.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-670-81964-5
This richly textured, lyrical first novel delineates the delayed maturity of Vietnam vet Ray McCreary and his unruly sidekick Bullet. Ex-Marines in their 40s, still unsettled and reliving their experiences ``back in a Jeep in the jungle,'' they struggle to adjust to their respective domestic roles. After footloose years, Ray hones his craft as a carpenter while living in an old schoolhouse outside Charlottesville, Va., surrounded by chickens, goats and grazing deer. To this tranquil setting he brings Vivian, an artist who walked out on her marriage and young children. Ray and Vivian are in love, but cautious about making a commitment, even when Vivian gets pregnant. At the fringes of their precarious happiness, Bullet lurks with chaotic schemes, luring Ray on a tipsy sailing escapade from Annapolis to the Virgin Islands. Visiting Bullet at his Maryland farmhouse, Ray finds him in command of a buffalo herd--an initially comic and gaudy enterprise that culminates in carnage--and suffers a repeat of the Vietnam nightmare. In the wrap-up to this impressive fictional debut, Ray acts decisively to reconcile the rival claims on his manhood. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1991
Release date: 03/01/1991
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