Mosquito Games

Dana Andrew Jennings, Author Ticknor & Fields $17.95 (206p) ISBN 978-0-89919-694-7
A grimly realistic slice of American gothic, this savagely comic first novel delineates Granite, N.H., a mill town where the Fruit & Real Estate stand sells watermelons and gravestones, a swampy backwater where ne'er-do-well Denny Gamble makes love to Pam Durocher in her wedding dressand the groom, Stain Thistle, says he doesn't mind. Earl Duston, the narrator, watches his best friend Denny commit a vicious, senseless knifing. An air of brutalization hangs over everybodyEarl himself, forced to quit high school and slave in a steel-drum factory; his alcoholic mother Norma, deserted by one man after another; his abusive, sometime stepfather Frank, sent up to the County Farm; even his cat, Crusty. The climax, triggered by a ritual in which the two buddies strip as mosquitoes feast on their blood, is a shocker. Yet the story has a static quality, its ragged characters frozen in time. Jennings, who writes for the Wall Street Journal and hails from New Hampshire, strews the narrative with four-letter words, cockfights, brawls and the seething anger of impotent men. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/01/1989
Release date: 02/01/1989
Genre: Fiction
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