cover image Firewater Pond

Firewater Pond

Michael Kimball. Putnam Publishing Group, $0 (336pp) ISBN 978-0-399-13081-6

Firewater Pond is the backwoods-Maine site of Camp Wind in the Pines, home of a bevy of poverty-line characters engaged in all manner of antic activities. The camp's owner, Carl Mason, keeps his tenants in tow by allowing them to pay the rent on their shacks in food stamps, otherwise redeemable only at his generic-brands-only camp store. Among the miscreants he shelters are some leftover hippies, Zippy and Ruth Jones (the latter of whom espouses Christianity with the same zeal she will later use selling cosmetics door-to-door); a band of reeking punks, the Mutants; Luthor Ellis, a black man under the delusion he's an Indian; and the Root family, who can't stop eating or reproducing. They pursue a running feud with town selectman Rutus Sny, who teams up with Zippy's visiting con man brother, L. A. Jones, to trick Mason out of his campsite. Kimball's humor is not for every taste, but the frantic goings on among the vivid if raunchy cast of characters should appeal to those who like realism combined with an eye for the ridiculous. December 6