Speaking in Tongues

Linda Ashour, Author Simon & Schuster $17.45 (223p) ISBN 978-0-671-64090-3
Baiting her hook and reeling in her readers with the insouciance of a veteran, this first novelist createsfrom page onea cast and set of milieus both fascinating and entertaining. Lucy Lerner Laugier, Oklahoma native, lives on the Riviera with her French photographer husband Marc and their small son Sam in a shabby villa, once a hotel run by a woman of questionable reputation. But Lucy's heart seems to be in Tulsa, where she is drawn once a year by her mother, a devotee of the televangelists; her father, a believer in the spiritual benefits of trees; and her wayward brother, who makes a dubious escape to Mississippi. The fact that she can't get herself to take Marc along on these summer pilgrimages signals that all is not well with her marriage; not only that, she isn't speaking to her mother-in-law, and Sam is having problems in school. After brother Cody becomes an improbable hero by rescuing a failed Southern beauty queen from a mugger's knife, Lucy realizes she too can face the music and does go home again, this time with Marc at her side. Ashour's use of untranslated French dialogue slows the pace as readers pause to interpret, but her accurate eye for detail and her wacky sense of the absurd help the book surmount the mostly lightweight plot. (July)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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