THE COCKROACHES OF STAY MORE by Donald Harington

THE COCKROACHES OF STAY MORE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Harington (The Architecture of the Arkansas Ozarks, 1975) returns to the fictional town of Stay More, this time to spin an exotic, amusing tale about a colony of cockroaches who talk in hillbilly dialect. The Cockroaches have their own religion (including an evangelical preacher, Rev. Chid Tichborne), mythology (death=westwardness), genealogy, and social pecking order. In Stay More, abandoned by Man, there is a single Man (Lord, or Larry) and Woman (Sharon, who tends the Clock). Larry, a drunk, loves Sharon, but she won't have him, so he lets off steam by shooting cockroaches--their version of fate (whether reward for faith or punishment for sin is never clear theologically). In this zany universe, Squire Gregor Samsa Ingledew, or Sam, deaf and bashful, wins (eventually) Tish Dingletoon, who--along with her Maw and Paw (Jack and Josie) and 44 siblings--moves to the Parthenon (where Woman lives) to ""claim kin."" Tish gets involved with Archy, but, upon learning of her brief liaison with Sam, he throws her into the toilet to drown. Sam rescues her, of course, and gets religion on the toilet seat. Rounding out this absurd alternate universe is a full cast of characters--ranging from Doc Swain, who treats both rooster-roaches and Man, to night crawlers, who talk like truckers into their CBs. Meanwhile, Harington works in a great deal of social satire--and gets by with most of it; in addition, there are anatomically correct descriptions of cockroaches mating that manage to be both sexy and ingratiating (coined words like ""sniffwhips"" help considerably). Perhaps not to everyone's liking, but a tour de force.

Pub Date: March 10th, 1989
ISBN: 1592640729
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich