cover image Geographical Cure

Geographical Cure

Michael Parker, Timothy Parker. Scribner Book Company, $20 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-684-19682-4

The prose in this polished collection, the second book by the author of the widely praised Hello Down There , fairly sparkles with vibrancy and charm. ``As Told To''--set, like all the selections, in rural North Carolina-- concerns the memoirs of Wilson Carleton, the oldest sibling in a small-town family, and the long-hidden resentment harbored by his brother Matthew. ``Golden Hour,'' a novella narrated by three radically different voices, deals with an incident at a vocational school involving a stalled bus, an aging ``beach music'' star and the Marx-Engels Reader . ``Love Wild'' is the story of two young men--one emotionally disturbed, the other lovesick--who work as Indians at a frontier theme park. Thanks to Parker's craftsmanship, his stories appear to ramble pleasantly when in fact they are models of compactness. And his abundant affection for his casts brings even the most minor players into sharp focus, as all of the characters are firmly rooted to their landscape. (In ``As Told To,'' Matthew observes, ``here the ghosts roll by on bicycles, press against you in the stacks of the public library, cough recognizably in the next voting booth.'') Parker's voice is not simply mature; it's absolutely fully formed. (July)