GEYSER LIFE by Edward Hardy


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 From storywriter Hardy, a first novel about two brothers, their sister, and their father, each estranged from the others. Nate Scales is a struggling journalist on a struggling Boston paper, always handed such undesirable assignments as the police beat. He's both a perfectionist and indecisive, and not good at his work. His sister, Sarah, meanwhile, is almost pathologically disorganized: She can't get going on a career, can't stay with one boyfriend. Nate and Sarah don't get along, but when word comes that their older brother, Grant, has died, they drive to upstate New York for the funeral. Along the way, their talk reveals much about their past: the freak accident that led to their mother's death, for example, and to their father's emotional collapse and flight. Grant had been left to raise them, and both disliked his arbitrary methods. They cannot grieve over his passing, but it turns out that he has left them both a sizable fortune; they also learn that Grant has been in continual contact with their father, Raymond. The two drive west in search of their father, eventually finding him in Yellowstone National Park, where he works at a concession and waxes eloquent about geysers. He's a dreamy, likable fellow who makes good sense in an offbeat, slightly schizophrenic way, offering such aphorisms as ``A dream thwarted stays a dream.'' Finally, Nate and Sarah come to the realization that their father and Grant were doing their best to take care of them all along, albeit in a loony, ineffectual way. Hardy uses a lot of techniques: alternating points of view, for instance, including chapters from the dead Grant. And his structure--two troubled young people, a bequest, a quest, and the arrival in a famous place, is classically perfect. What's lacking is substance: Hardy's characters don't know much, don't learn much, and their adventures are ordinary. Overall, a slick, pleasant, promising, but rather shallow performance.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 1-882593-16-2
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Bridge Works
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1996