Gallagher's Travels

Jean McGarry, Author Johns Hopkins University Press $28 (224p) ISBN 978-0-8018-5634-1
In pithy but generally uninspired prose, McGarry (The Courage of Girls) carves a dimly lit tunnel of grim, hardboiled vision through a dark mass of urban decay--in this case, the decay of that gritty American institution, the independent newspaper, during the 1970s. Her heroine, Catherine Gallagher (always referred to by her surname) bids an eager farewell to college life--her senior thesis is titled ""Crazy Eights: The Mid-Career of Federico Fellini""--for what she hopes will be a rough-and-tumble career at the Wampanoag (R.I.) Times. Gallagher yearns to be one of the newsmen, but--alas!--is relegated to the Women's page. Her mentor and lover, hard-bitten newsman Jack McGuire, encourages her passion for ""real"" news, and Gallagher makes ripples when she skewers two local fixtures who run a private school--and makes waves when she defends welfare. At McGuire's urging, Gallagher leaves New England (grumpy dad, empathic mom, dull, defensive boyfriend) to chase scoops for the Michigan Depointe Bullet but once again finds herself relegated to the light side--this time Entertainment. In the muted climax to this slice of increasingly corporatized life, Gallagher's work performance is nixed by the editor whose advances she has rejected--and whose newfangled ideals of business-friendly reportage are incurably alien to her. ""It wasn't a tragedy,"" she shrugs, ""just the end."" Which is the kind of stoicism the reader has come to expect from this muckraking, bar-hopping tough cookie who doesn't suffer Yahoos gladly. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/02/1997
Release date: 06/01/1997
Genre: Fiction
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