AS I WALKED OUT ONE EVENING by Donald Wetzel

AS I WALKED OUT ONE EVENING

Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

 A babbling stream of consciousness from a septuagenarian writer who is afraid he has Alzheimer's disease. Wetzel's father had Alzheimer's, as did an aunt and other members of his paternal line, and until his doctor assures him that at 74 he is out of danger, Wetzel is constantly on the lookout for it in himself, and on more than one occasion he's convinced that he has found it. Wetzel's seven-year-long obsession is presented to the reader as an outing, a longish drive with the author as he confronts the nature of aging and of dementia in a vague and roundabout way, with sidetracks into both early youth and the literary imagination. He travels back in time to ponder the unconsummated flirtation/love between himself and a younger cousin, thinks back on his own father's descent into dementia, and wonders about this legacy from a man who disowned him in every way but genetically. A large portion of the book describes time spent in a van in the company of an 83-year-old drunk who serves as a foil for the author's paranoia. Novelist Wetzel (A Bird in the Hand, 1973; The Lost Skiff, 1969; etc.) conveys very well, with his creative lack of punctuation and multi-parenthetical prose, the inner workings of his slightly unlatched mind, although this unlatching never really seems to the reader to sound like the early stages of Alzheimer's. It seems more like what, in fact, it turns out to be: the uninhibited, often scatological, and not obviously rewarding ramblings of an old man.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1997
ISBN: 1-877946-94-X
Page count: 144pp
Publisher: Permanent Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1997




SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

FictionTHE WIDE CIRCUMFERENCE OF LOVE by Marita Golden
by Marita Golden
IndieTOUCH THE SPIRIT by Deborah A. Forrest
by Deborah A. Forrest