Dead Reckoning

Brooks Haxton, Author Story Line Press $11.95 (242p) ISBN 978-0-934257-25-1
In this disappointing book-length ``novel in verse,'' Haxton ( Dominion ) portrays oddball characters who become even stranger as they interact. Eddy, a Vietnam veteran, attempts to come to terms with his dying father by sneaking him out of the hospital. The nurse on duty is in the laundry room having sex, and later the staff is anxious to cover up the absence of their patient. Eddy happens upon Amy, a strung-out junkie willing to turn tricks for dope. There are interesting possibilites inherent in this environment, but the characters' idiosyncrasies are lost in the poem's New Formalist blank verse--long dramatic monologues and narratives. Frequent inverted speech patterns seem at odds with the way such characters might think or act: ``Eddy dragged his father into the back seat. / He knew he should have loaded him in the trunk, / But he would have to remember what he did. /Details, like the urinary catheter, / Were troubling him already.'' This book lacks authenticity; the author's representation of Vietnam and of drug addiction is constricted by cliches. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1989
Release date: 09/01/1989
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