Margaret's Book

James Walton, Author Another Chicago Press $0 (153p) ISBN 978-0-9614644-9-3
Walton's fiction debut is an overwritten opus built around that hackneyed figure, the aging small-town eccentric. Educated as a teacher, Preston Belcher returns after his college graduation to the record shop where he'd worked during high school. Almost 20 years elapse but he still lives alone, losing himself in music or in literature from the used-book store run by his late mother's childhood friend, and dreaming of what might have been. The record store is sold to a chain, rock replaces jazz, and Preston is overlooked as manager--all of which galvanize him to address his secret ambition to write: ``The occultation of all meaning in his life (a state of things unexampled in his reading of gregarious nineteenth-century novels) might prove the very condition of his persevering in the work he had so tentatively started.'' Preston's inevitable retreat into a fantasy world at the first sign of conflict precludes the reader's understanding his motivations. The stories he eventually composes, included here, are more absorbing than the structure containing them. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
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