Although less structurally innovative than Sallis's first Lew Griffin mystery, last year's The Long-Legged Fly , this second in the series still offers plentiful satisfaction. Here, recovering alcoholic Griffin, a novelist, literature professor and ex-PI in New Orleans, searches for Alouette, the runaway daughter of his former lover, the recently deceased LaVerne Adams. Flashbacks detail Griffin's recent history before bringing the reader up to his efforts to find Alouette, whose crack baby is dying in a Tennessee hospital. Sallis explores themes of friendship and loyalty as Griffin ruminates on the works of Proust, Camus, Kierkegaard, Queneau and Robbe-Grillet, among others, while he repays emotional debts to LaVerne and seeks his own ``quiet, constant eureka'' of existence. Secondary characters sparkle--a gay counselor at a women's shelter, the French teacher who becomes Lew's latest romance, LaVerne's mother and the low-life barflies who aid Griffin's search. A final sequence links Griffin's attempts to help a colleague find a missing son to his own regret at a lost relationship with his own son. The novel's rewards reside less in linear plot than in rich characterization, captivating rhythms and lyrical voice. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/02/1993 Release date: 08/01/1993 Genre: Fiction
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