cover image Sticklebacks and Snow Globes

Sticklebacks and Snow Globes

B. A. Goodjohn, . . Permanent, $26 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-57962-155-1

Goodjohn's debut follows the inhabitants of Stanley Close, a housing project outside of London that's home to the Thompson family. Donald Thompson is a trumpet player with hopes of moving to New Orleans to play, even though following his dream means leaving behind his wife, Elaine; teenage daughter Dorothy; and eight-year-old epileptic daughter Tot. Donald tells Tot of his secret plan, and she promises not to tell anyone as long as he brings her back a snow globe to add to her collection. Tot, meanwhile, strikes a deal with God that if she catches seven stickleback fish over the course of seven Saturdays (and sacrifices them), her father will return. Subplots concerning other residents involve, among others, Gerald Damson, who lost his former home, sold most of his possessions and suspects his wife is flirting with the “rent man.” The pace suffers from stringing together a hodgepodge of points-of-view (a retarded child, Dorothy and her friend) that fail to coalesce. Goodjohn captures the feel and tenor of a working-class neighborhood, but the novel's meandering hobbles readers' emotional investment in the characters' plights. (Oct.)