Perfect Timing

Philip Lee Williams, Author Peachtree Publishers $17.95 (304p) ISBN 978-1-56145-024-4
With the same clear-eyed and uncloying sensitivity for eccentric characters he displayed in All the Western Stars , Williams takes on mid-life madness in this tale of dreams both dashed and fulfilled. Ford Clayton teaches musicology at the North Carolina music conservatory he graduated from 20 years before, a continuity that pleased him once but finds him, at middle age, feeling safe and sorry. He has a brief affair with a student, prompting his wife to decamp with the children. Then on a TV show about New York City's homeless he sees Camille Malone, the great love of his college days, and becomes convinced that if he can find her he'll recover the promise of his youth. A series of credible misunderstandings takes him, in the company of his little-loved cousin Clarence-- just out of federal prison and recently born again-- to Myrtle Beach to meet Camille and to reclaim passion for both life and music. Riffs of laugh-out-loud humor lighten the serious movements of Ford's quest as Williams leads him and other memorable characters, notably the prodigiously talented but unbalanced Camille, toward a satisfying finale. A special treat for readers who love music. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/29/1991
Release date: 05/01/1991
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