This is an odd book about the growing southern boy, written with that region's usual humor and richness of language but avoiding the extremes of gothic-bizarre or corn-pone hominess. It follows Harriman Monroe's eight-year-old infatuation with the Dream of Pines colored band through learning the trumpet as a way of compensating for his terrible acne; on to the ""roaches"" (girl losers) he very occasionally dated; to the inevitable horsing around with his crazy college roommate Fleece and ex-Yalie jock Silas; to medical school (he flunked out); to pharmacology school (he quit); to English graduate school (he stays, presumably to write this book); and his marriage to a girl who is undoubtedly the last technical virgin over fifteen south of the Mason-Dixon line. Not that Harry knows this, for his world is a curious combination of daredevil cynicism and innocence -- when Silas is about to marry Fleece's old girl friend, Harry asks him if he really wants used goods. And when Harry's not on the various parade grounds of the south, he pretends he's Geronimo, from the bandana around his head to the pistol in his pocket. The story, with its recurring characters and events, is in one sense well plotted, but all of it is without any significance -- like the barber who broke the world's haircutting record, an admirable but essentially trivial accomplishment.