Deadly Virtues

Francois Andre Camoin, Author Arrowood Books (OR) $0 (190p) ISBN 978-0-934847-06-3
The author of Why Men Are Afraid of Women delivers a powerful novel about three half-brothers who return to their Oregon home to solve the mystery of their father's drowning. The novel is narrated by the middle brother, Buckdancer, a sensitive 27-year-old drifter who shares illuminating insights about his father, an ""unpredictable, melancholy'' sculptor who ``hid behind his work'' and ``didn't take the chances that can make you an artist.'' Buck also poignantly describes his siblings: Jacob, a 35-year-old Denver lawyer who ``had always worn an older man's face, weighted down with . . . ambition and seriousness,'' and Carlo, a teenage genius who ``never learned to distinguish between imagination and real life.'' Camoin masterfully demonstrates how the brothers come to terms with their complicated filial feelings and also discover devastating truths about themselves that shed new light on their father's death. The tension is strong from the start (``The Skinners are a family of lunatics from which I barely escaped,'' Buck begins) and builds throughout, facilitated by Camoin's spare, dreamlike writing style. While Camoin fully conveys the psychological turmoil experienced by his male protagonists, the female characters haven't much depth and their portrayals are sexist. Despite this flaw, Deadly Virtues is an intriguing novel by a skilled writer. (April)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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