THE WINTER RIDER by Berry Fleming


Email this review


Several of Berry Fleming's best books have been brief stories of mood -- and this somehow fits into that category, although one does not realize it until afterwards. William Wesley Johns was heading for town and a celebration; his manuscript was finished and about to be posted by air to New York- and assured success. But he reckoned without the Fates, which presented him first with an oddball passenger, a girl with a suitcase, a violin and a viols; and then with a broken fan belt, in the pine barrens miles from nowhere. Misled by wires- which wound up anywhere-they encountered two people in the woods:- an Indian on a mule, and a frantic boy seeking the Indian, Dr. Luke. They go on to the clearing- and find a vague but determined old man- and his dead son. And all their plans go out the window. Wesley helps bury the dead man; they share a shad at the cabin; Dr. Luke takes them off-ostensibly to a town where they can mail the manuscript, part company and get mechanical assistance. But plenty happens as the evening approaches and the fog settles down. And when Wesley comes to the next morning the manuscript is at the bottom of the river, the girl is gone, the car is delivered- and the future is again his own. Tantalizing- but with some measure of fascination, offset by overlong passages of almost stream of consciousness commentary on the place of true art expression in an alien world.

Publisher: Lippincott