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Harry Trowbridge, Hannibal's latest Irish-American soul-banger, like his forerunners in the lively Chocolate Days, Popsicle Weeks (1970) and the less interesting Dancing Man (1973), is zapped back from the Big Apple to the assorted nuts and ""boiled-meat walls"" of a Boston-Irish clan. Actor Harry, a moderate success at TV commercial voice-overs, has brought wife Angle and five kids back to home turf, because their marriage and his career were dying on them. He now owns and operates the ""Queen of Liberty Square,"" a gas station of modest renown. But it's not long before he's up to his Big Lip (a tribal legacy) in the troubles of his in-laws, the large, bloodtight-loyal, and trouble-prone Duffys. Out on a hilarious, wounding marathon binge with his freaked-out brother-in-law, Father Tommy, Harry allows the priest to pratfall into a violent and humiliating sex scrape and is soon swept into the virtuoso and tender concern of a gifted blackmailer. While he suffers through this Duffy rescue-mission, the Liberty Square gas gig seems about to flop, so Harry meditates on his own restless dissatisfaction with his life and the magnetic pull of ""no-hope"" which seems to dog it: at the Duffy parents' anniversary (roaring bromides, confessions, clinking) he tests the edge of sadness. . . ""No wonder they were all such drinkers and smokers, breeders and phone callers, movers, laughers, and worriers."" No, the ""new and simple life""--not so new, not so simple--doesn't seem to be working out, so Harry now plans to commute to his TV trade. And somehow, says Angle, they'll ""make it work, yagada, yagada."" In spite of a plethora of such flashy-yagada Angle/Harry dialogue, this back-to-Boston odyssey will serve nicely as a solid, seasonal offering in the Family genre.

Pub Date: Dec. 28th, 1977
Publisher: Putnam