THE SUNSHINE MAN by D. M. Clark

THE SUNSHINE MAN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Though a jot too reminiscent, even in title, of Richard B. Wright's comic-sad gem of a few years back, The Weekend Man, this book by Canadian Clark still has a good deal going for it in both intention and style. The life of Figgy Van Rijn, a detail-man for a pharmaceuticals firm in British Columbia, is bruised all over by life's small punches: a dying mother, a hated father, an estranged wife. Whatever comforts and stabilities he still has--his secretary-girlfriend, his job, afternoons at the beach--are threatened by a fecklessness he can't seem to control: he beats up on his girl, insults his boss, acts like an ass in public. So it's a peculiar kind of ""sunshine"" indeed that emanates from or is showered down upon Figgy; Clark means us to like the guy despite his actions--the poor bastard, etc.--but this insistence often leads to a sentimentality the book could have done without. Still, Clark's inability to make Figgy ever really come out right as a character doesn't obscure the achievements in a book where the gentleness is finely calibrated, the misery real, the angle oblique. With his minor-key prose and laconic precision, Clark proves himself a genuinely interesting voice, very quiet and on the mark.

Pub Date: Nov. 23rd, 1977
Publisher: St. Martin's