Wallace's first novel is a humorous but unstructured tale of American pastimes and obsessions, whose protagonist is Gar Foote, the general manager of a Coca-Cola bottling plant in Valhalla, Miss. Working for Coke never provides as much excitement for Gar as does his love of competitive bass fishing or his passionate, feisty wife, Virginia, aka V.R. She is the book's most compelling character, a vibrant woman who takes out her aggressions in ``weekend warrior'' combat activities. Patriotic Gar resents the foreigners who are taking administrative positions in the soft drink company. When word spreads of a planned change in the formula for Coke, Gar rebels by staging a televised shutdown of the bottling plant, a gesture that backfires when Gar discovers that his employer owns the TV station. Wallace eventually neglects this witty commentary on the politics of capitalism in favor of tedious, heavily detailed accounts of Gar's macho fishing exploits with his buddies, the Commandoes. The plot goes to absurd extremes, including a spectacular hi-tech, high-stakes bass fishing tournament in Las Vegas. Although fishing and love do win out over Coke in the end, Gar has by then been reduced to a caricature in an unpredictable but often silly novel. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1991 Release date: 03/01/1991 Genre: Fiction
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.