Reuben, the gnomish character at the center of Wideman's (Hurry Home) latest novel, at first appears a writer's indulgence, repugnant on the outside, wise on the inside. An attorney operating from a beat-up ghetto trailer, he gives advice and, he says, can take care of things at the Mecca of legal officialdom, ""Downtown,'' at no cost. But like its title characer, PEN-Faulkner Award-winner Wideman's novel should not be mistaken after a quick glance. Bringing his fiction back to Homewood, the setting of much of his work, Wideman has done a masterful job of character portrayal, not only in creating the gentle attorney but also with his clients Kwansa, in search of the son snatched by her estranged lover, and Wally, whose fantasy of murder involves airplane flights everywhere and an assassination near the marble-topped sinks of a Chicago bathroom. Employing a graceful, free-flowing, almost Joycean style, Wideman shows how the minds of his characters form connections and how their lives are played out as in a dream. Of special note are Reuben's wonderful musings on Eadweard Muybridge, the Victorian scientist who used photography to study motion in men and animals. This novel confirms the author's reputation as an important American writer. (October 30)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987 Release date: 01/01/1987 Genre:
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