One True Thing

Greg Matthews, Author Grove/Atlantic $18.95 (306p) ISBN 978-0-8021-1150-0
A study of Americana in all its tackiness yields a dark, discomfiting vision of the way we live now in Matthews's ( Heart of the Country ) brilliant, searching novel. Stubborn maverick Ray Kootz runs the Thunderbird Motel in Kansas, a ring of concrete tepees inherited from his philandering dad, who died while driving drunk. All Ray wants is a solid family life, but it keeps eluding him. First he discovers his wife, Holly, in bed with his only friend; then his son Kevin kills Holly in a freak accident for which Milo, Ray's stepson, feigns responsibility in order to protect Kevin. Years later, Kevin plunges into heavy-metal rock and Satanism, and Milo, the family's black sheep--now a cocaine runner marked for death by a drug syndicate--returns to the ``T-bird'' motel, where Autie, Ray's unacknowledged teenage daughter from a casual union, has come to live. The events that unfold animate Matthews's concerns: guilt, retribution, forgiveness, how people destroy their own hopes, how things rarely work out as planned. Written with heart, panache and slyly subversive humor, this nonstop read begins in a tone of breezy raunchiness and plummets into tragedy. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-8217-3994-5
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