WATCHMAN TELL US OF THE NIGHT by A.B. Paulson

WATCHMAN TELL US OF THE NIGHT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This well-written but predictable first novel chronicles another case of suburban dread, that afflication suffered only by people with split-level homes and manicured lawns. These sterile surroundings here lead to them usual symptoms--boredom, anxiety, and adultery, though not necessarily in that order. Richard and Lindsay Wyatt Smith were once groovier types, graduate students who met while working on McGovern's campaign in 1972. Marriage and a child (a boy named Alex) led to different lives. Richard follows the fast track as a young executive with an aluminum company; Lindsay chooses to stay at home, write poetry, and play the organ at church on Sunday. At the novel's outset, she senses that something's wrong. Recently, all kinds of men have been watching her house from an assortment of conspicuous vehicles. There's Dave, who wants to have it out with Richard, who's in love with Gina from the office, who also sleeps with Dave. There's Garth, a bearded artist in search of ""a life without labor,"" who's been infatuated with Lindsay from the moment he set eyes on her at the mall, where he went to get over Una, who's gone to live with Dave. There's the married Pastor Ekdahl, himself suffering a crisis of sorts as he lusts for his favorite parishoner. Gray, a Harvard-educated plumber, pops in for a tumble or two with Lindsay, who first submitted when she learned of Richard's infidelities. Later, a detective also lingers about when Richard needs evidence for a custody suit. In a dizzying finale, everyone shows up at once, including Lindsay's long-lost brother, another of the watchers. Free-spirited Garth ends up with like-minded Lindsay; middle-class drone Richard with dumb, big-breasted Gina; and an outrageous tangle of connectedness resolves itself in a truly comic bit of closure. ""Nothing is what you expect,"" writes Paulson, but he disproves his apparent moral with this comically-ended but all-too-familar tale.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1987
Publisher: Viking