Lamar Herrin. St. Martin's/Dunne, $25.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-03276-8
With hydrofracking and its effects so conspicuously in the news, it's surprising that Herrin's first novel in seven years (Romancing Spain) reads so ponderously, perhaps as too many characters are given prominent points of view, or because intimate details are revealed in an oddly detached manner. The story—of a man named Frank Joyner who must decide whether to lease the mineral rights on his fami-ly's land situated over the Marcellus Shale to a natural gas company or be "compulsorily integrated" and receive less compensation—may satisfy metaphorically, but not as a narrative. Joyner, an all-but-retired architect known for repurposing old, decaying buildings, is philosophically opposed to hydro-fracking, but when his ex-son-in-law, a scheming lawyer, intrudes, he acquiesces, and drilling com-mences. The book's narrative builds upon his decision, while its metaphoric underpinnings derive from hydrofracking and compulsory integration, downward and outward drilling, and forced participation. The story unfolds through the eyes of multiple characters, including Frank and members of his family, the wise woman he quietly loves, his ex-son-in-law, and the landman whose thoughtfulness convinces Frank to lease his land. The land is not the Joyner family's sole legacy. Sadness and suicide are in its genes, and both inform these characters' behavior and choices, as well as the plot, which unfortunately moves far too slowly. Agent: Dan Mandel, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Nov)
Reviewed on: 08/05/2013
Release date: 11/12/2013
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-250-03275-1
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