Thursday, February 02, 2006

14. "Saul and Patsy" ~ Charles Baxter

A Jewish high school teacher and the love of his life, Patsy, move to a quiet Michigan town to settle down. After the birth of his daughter, it seems like his marriage has "settled" as well; when a one-card-short-of-a-deck student begins stalking him, it changes Saul's belief systems and challenges his marriage.

Baxter's gift is the immaculate detail... those crystal specks among the silt. Sometimes he wrote such a wonderful description that the power of it made me put the book down momentarily. However, the first chapters' dialogue propels the reader through this tangled love between stormy, sulky Saul and his precious Patsy.

With such perfect prose, where can Baxter go? Unfortunately, the middle and end do not live up to the beginning, in both quality and believability. Too many plot lines are knotted, too many answers are left unknown. But the first few chapters may make it worthwhile.

3.45 out of 5.0 Mountain Blasts.

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