This graphic rendering of a week in the life of an 11-year-old Oklahoma boy is a far cry from Jackson's ( Control ) suspense novels. Yet the Depression-era family tale begins with an act of violence. Kiley's 72-year-old grandfather, tyrannical and irascible cabdriver Emory Jerome Still, is beaten and bloodied by a drunk passenger. Several of Still's intemperate sons, murder in their hearts, go hunting for the attacker. Kiley is a remarkably sophisticated observer; his musings on the love he and his grandfather share; on the limits of that love; on the nature of fear, pride and revenge, bring a decidedly literate and multidimensional touch to the circumstances that reshape his extended family. The events are explicitly detailed, ranging from Kiley's stubborn refusal to be ``saved'' by a pompous preacher to his bloody fistfight with a brutish older cousin. The ultimate confrontation with his grandfather's attacker, vividly seen through Kiley's keen, analytic eye, nearly results in a murder. This unvarnished yet affectionate coming-of-age tale is laced with pungent vernacular. Jackson, the book review editor for the Tulsa World , takes a warm but unsentimental look at the tightening of family bonds. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1991 Release date: 03/01/1991 Genre: Fiction
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