THE HOT MONTH by Clifford Hanley
Kirkus Star


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The first time we saw Mr. Hanley was in Second Time Round (1964). We fear that our colleagues in the semi-art of book reviewing came across as very pompous about Mr. Hanley's excellent comedy on the ruinous theory, perhaps, that if it is fun, it can't be serious. We liked it very much and nailed to our flagpole is the motto: Intelligent Entertainment is a Book Beyond Price. Mr. Hanley hasn't changed and neither have we. The Hot Month is combusted with laughter and, if the book has a literary ancestry, it has to be Cold Comfort Farm. The setting is Ochie, a forgotten hamlet on a crumbling stretch of coast in Scotland, where the inhabitants behave like triple distilled Scots. Just as an unseasonably hot spell settles over Ochie, the Boag family drives in to spend their vacation in a newly acquired old farmhouse. Nat Boag, a portrait painter, his wife Mary, a teen age son and two daughters, make up a family circle that is more like a pretzel; they loop across each other's lives and their salty talk makes you want more. The heat brings out the best of the worst in them and in the relatives who zero in to visit; some hormones get toasted and some typical diagonal, topical issues get roasted. Light reading but no lightweight at work here.

Pub Date: Jan. 18th, 1966
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin