Lamar Herrin The Lies Boys Tell: A Novel

ISBN 13: 9780393030105

The Lies Boys Tell: A Novel

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9780393030105: The Lies Boys Tell: A Novel

Set during the Vietnam War, this novel chronicles the odyssey of Ed Reece, who asks his estranged son to help him die in peace

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From Kirkus Reviews:

Herrin's fourth novel (The Unwritten Chronicles of Robert E. Lee, 1989, etc.): a quiet, sturdy account of a dying man's journey across the country to his deathbed, which happens to be the same bed where he was born. The author manages to turn the stuff of soap opera into a heartfelt mythical odyssey, occasionally a bit garrulous but mostly full of craft. Ed Reece, dying of lung cancer, telegraphs Larry, his estranged older son, nearly 40. Despite his wife and other children, despite a prosperous business, ``All I can say now,'' Ed tells Larry, ``is that it hasn't been enough.'' So he has Larry buy a van and off they go, without telling the family. While they travel through the Midwest on their way to Chumleyville, Alabama, where Ed was born, the two have many heart-to-hearts, and Larry, drifting until now, begins to apprehend the world: ``Death was like a solution that brought every speck of beauty out of the world around you, but that would not let you breathe, let you be.'' They visit Connie, Larry's ex-wife, who now lives in the country with Larry's two kids and her female lover. Connie is a no-nonsense woman (``We're the salt of the earth. We pull our weight out here''), and Ed convinces her to come along with grandson Jeff. After the usual road scenes--flashbacks, a van breakdown, cops (because Ed's wife is convinced that Larry ``kidnapped'' his father)--Connie and Larry are reconciled, then bargain (in an affecting tragicomic scene) with the owners of the house where Ed wants to die. Ed passes away after a vision, leaving his family- -Ed's wife and younger son are now on the scene as well--bereft but wiser. Herrin builds his novel the old-fashioned way, earning his effects with slice-of-life detail that makes the archetypal father- son journey credible and unboastful rather than literary or postmodernist. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Dying of lung cancer, Ed Reece asks his son Larry, a 1960s antiwar radical living in Mexico, to buy a van, drive Ed to his sister's house in Savannah to pick up the bed in which he was born, and then drive him to Chumleyville, Alabama so that he can die in the house in which he was born. Ed's wife, other son, and daughter are told nothing of the trip. But Ed directs Larry west and, before Larry realizes it, they near the home Larry's ex-wife Connie shares with their two children and her lesbian lover. Larry, Connie, their son Jeff, and Ed drive to Savannah and Chumleyville where, before Ed dies, the house's occupants vacate it in exchange for the rest of Ed's cash. A changing narrative perspective provides strong characters but sometimes undermines continuity in this well-crafted, deeply moving tale of life's choices and intended legacies. Winner of the 1990 Associated Writing Programs Award, this is recommended for serious fiction collections.
- Harold Augen braum, Mercantile Lib., New York
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Book Description W.W. Norton & Company, New York, NY, 1991. Hardcover. First Ed; First Impression.. First Ed; First Impression. Near Fine in Fine DJ: Book shows only minute indications of use; faint smudge at bottom edge of page block; binding square and secure; text clean. DJ unclipped; mylar-protected. Virtually 'As New'. NOT a Remainder. NOT a Book-Club Edition. NOT an Ex-Library copy. 8vo. 267pp. Winner of the 1990 Associated Writing Programs Award. Hardback with DJ. The Lies Boys Tell relates the story of Ed Reece, a dying man who convinces his middle-aged son to take him on a journey through Middle America, to end in the town where he was born. His family--his wife and children, and their spouses and children--are the primary characters in this tale, peppered with Ed's philosophical musings about life and death. Herrin's view of small-town America is pitch-perfect and insightful, populated with the denisens of fast-food joints and strip malls and by people burdened with the stifling bleakness of their lives. Dying of lung cancer, Ed Reece asks his son Larry, a 1960s antiwar radical living in Mexico, to buy a van, drive Ed to his sister's house in Savannah to pick up the bed in which he was born, and then drive him to Chumleyville, Alabama so that he can die in the house in which he was born. Ed's wife, other son, and daughter are told nothing of the trip. But Ed directs Larry west and, before Larry realizes it, they near the home Larry's ex-wife Connie shares with their two children and her lesbian lover. Larry, Connie, their son Jeff, and Ed drive to Savannah and Chumleyville where, before Ed dies, the house's occupants vacate it in exchange for the rest of Ed's cash. A changing narrative perspective provides strong characters in this well-crafted, deeply moving tale of life's choices and intended legacies. Bookseller Inventory # 36342

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