cover image The Consequence of Skating

The Consequence of Skating

Steven Gillis, Black Lawrence (Consortium, dist.), $18 paper (330p) ISBN 978-0-9826228-7-2

Gillis's flat fourth novel (after Temporary People) suffers from a lackluster plot served up via mounds of prose that ably demonstrates the old adage "less is more." Actor Mickey Greene is in the pits of despair after falling into drug-induced convulsions during a rehearsal, landing him in rehab, losing him his girlfriend, and forcing him to take a menial job as a security guard at an amusement park. Fortunately, redemption is in the offing: Greene dreams of getting his production of Harold Pinter's Moonlight taken by a major theater, discovers a potential new girlfriend, and takes up a wayward youth named Cam that he meets skating on a frozen lake. Greene also has the token über-successful friend who shames him with his easy dominance of life and provides Gillis with a conduit for hackneyed philosophizing (the friend's created a computer algorithm for predicting world events; its acronym is G.O.D.). The thin plot needs great prose to save it, but Gillis's run-on sentences and mixed metaphors read like material for an introductory copyediting course. (Sept.)