cover image Candy Story

Candy Story

Marie Redonnet, Theodore Roosevelt. Bison Books, $10 (99pp) ISBN 978-0-8032-8958-1

Somewhere at the bottom (way at the bottom), Candy Story is a tawdry thriller. Corrupt politicians with ruthless henchmen kill to protect illicit gains, while film stars and high-profile writers trade off lovers. Some dozen or so people die before the end, but with all the death and mayhem, this plot is nonetheless tangential. As if to emphasize the superfluity of the characters, Redonnet's given them awfully similar names (Lill, Lind, Lina, Lisa, Li, Line, Lize, Lenz and so on and so forth) which makes it easier just to let the story flow and watch out for the main character--the narrator, Mia--and the main idea: usually the burden of legacy or memory. Mia, who has been having trouble writing a second book to follow her Sise Memories, keeps inheriting things. Money and a house are the practical but not always terribly helpful items, but there's also the memorabilia: an Africanophile friend's written record of the African women he has known and of the progress of the disease he contracted as a result; a military man's memoir, which consists only of complicated mathematical equations; a photo album. Mia's lovers never seem to remember her name during sex, each calling her ``Candy'' at the crucial moment. Those who have read Redonnet's Hotel Splendid, Forever Valley, and Rose Mellie Rose, all of which were published by Nebraska last year, will recognize certain elements: the swamp and other watery motifs, the decrepit hotel, the mayor's widow. The multiple layers here are more than this slim novel can support, making it a better bet for readers who have already developed a taste for Redonnet's dark, mazy style. (Nov.)