A Gentleman's Guide to the Frontier

Joanne Meschery, Author Simon & Schuster $19.45 (351p) ISBN 978-0-671-46369-4
An unlikely duo search for new beginnings and the real America in Meschery's ( In A High Place ) unconventional road novel. One is 50ish Andrew Marsh, devastated by his wife's death from cancer. The other, octogenarian Reginald Vickers, who has just lost a son to cancer, is prone to eloquent reminiscences of his father, Algernon, hero of an all-black cavalry regiment in the U.S. government's wars against the Indians. Roaming in a trailer from California to Wyoming, the twosome have adventures and pick up assorted roadies. Eventually they are joined by Marsh's frantic daughter-in-law, fresh from a split-up with his lawyer son. Meanwhile, Vickers spins yarns about Algie, born on a slave ship in 1860, a contemporary of General George Custer--tales whose accuracy Marsh checks out through local archives or conversations with descendants of people who knew the old soldier. It's an inspired idea for a novel, but it doesn't come off, partly because of Meschery's digressive narrative style, partly because she doesn't make us care deeply enough about the characters. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1990
Release date: 03/01/1990
Genre: Fiction
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