Along with completely original material, this new collection is a compilation of the best of Dennis Lehane's previously published short fiction, including "Until Gwen," which was adapted for the stage in 2005 and appears in this book as the play Coronado. By turns suspenseful, surreal, romantic, and tragically comic, these powerful tales journey headlong into the heart of our national myths—and reveal that the truth awaiting us there is not what we would expect.
Lehane (Mystic River) hints in the first of these five richly vernacular (and, save one, previously published) stories and one play that "a small town is a hard place to keep a secret." In "Running Out of Dog," two Vietnam vets return to their hometown of Eden, S.C., and become tragically entangled with the wife of a man whose rich family kept him out of the war. Class resentment similarly erupts in "Gone Down to Corpus," set in back-water Texas, 1970, as a group of high school football players breaks into the house of rich kid Lyle, who fumbled the big pass at the last game. They drunkenly wreck the house and are shocked by the appearance of Lyle's younger sister, Lurlene, who is eager to join the party. The collection's centerpiece is "Until Gwen," which has also been adapted by Lehane into a two-act play, Coronado. Transcribed, the play revolves around the edgy reunion of a hustler father and his son, Bobby, newly released after four years in prison. It quickly becomes apparent that Bobby's father has retrieved him only to find out where the heist loot is hidden, and Bobby, in turn, needs to know what happened to his girlfriend, Gwen. Powerfully envisioned lives, recounted unflinchingly. (Sept.)
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August 07, 2006
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