Buffalo Lockjaw

Greg Ames, Author . Hyperion $14.95 (290p) ISBN 978-1-4013-0980-0

Dreary, winter-bound Buffalo, N.Y., is as much a character as any of the slackers populating Ames's darkly humorous debut about a young man with a copy of Suicide for Dummies in his car and a 56-year-old mother with Alzheimer's who he believes wants to die. James, 28, fled hometown stasis in the mid-'90s for Manhattan, where he writes greeting card verse for Kwality Kards. Back home at Thanksgiving to visit his mother in a nursing home, he reconnects awkwardly with old friends who hail his supposed big-city success. His family isn't as awestruck. Father Rodney, a solid citizen rooted in country club bonhomie, laments his son's lack of discipline, and his lesbian sister, Kate, a physical therapist visiting with her girlfriend from Oregon, mocks her brother's career path. Both evade his oblique references to euthanasia—the real reason for his return. Ames's depiction of James's bedside concern for his mother straddles the line between caustically comic and wrenchingly emotional, while the wry riffs on family tension and the sad state of Buffalo that appear throughout this fine first novel don't undercut the serious consideration of murder or mercy for terminal patients. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 02/09/2009
Release date: 03/01/2009
Genre: Fiction
Portable Document Format (PDF) - 303 pages - 978-1-4013-9397-7
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 304 pages - 978-1-4013-9396-0
Ebook - 978-1-4013-9399-1
Ebook - 978-1-4013-9398-4
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