FAT PEOPLE by Carol Sturm Smith


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Too much surface, but very very polished, impressively so. The kind of narrator here is slipping fast into type--the feckless female licking her wounds--but Smith's Sarah Campbell gets going nicely, with a wry randiness, stray sorrow (like bone in a hamburger), and a humorous self-deprecation. Separated from her jazz-musician husband and buoyed by a small inheritance, Sarah hops into her Porsche and spends almost a year on the road, sleeping in motels and remembering her lovers and getting progressively, satisfiedly, luxuriously fatter. When, on the road, she chances upon a man and wife in a ditched van--the wife going into labor at just that hour--Sarah lends her Porsche, stays with the van, and the next day finds the husband returning, grief-dumb, having lost the wife in childbirth. This bit of cold water sends Sarah back home, but since the book still hasn't picked up anything approaching a muscle, there's no true culmination. Small concerns, pared ironies, but none of the urgency that would make us care about Sarah as well as like her. Still, in her diffidence, Sarah's that rare thing in a fictional character: reluctant. Not raging, not renouncing, not riled, just not quite ready--and the delicacy of that state takes a real writer to produce. Smith is one.

Pub Date: May 24th, 1978
Publisher: Fiction Collective--dist. by Braziller