EVERY MAN’S HAND by Jake Mosher


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A western farce from Mosher (The Last Buffalo Hunter, 2001), who populates a small Montana town with novelists, blind movie stars, demented cabbies, and civil-service strippers.

If you liked A Confederacy of Dunces but thought it a little much, this might be more your speed. Billy Bristol is a would-be writer and world-class layabout who knows he’s destined to be rich and famous but just can’t seem to break free of obscurity. Born and raised in the old mining town of Butte, Billy has his own apartment (the landlady is threatening to evict if he doesn’t pay up) but no job, and his unemployment benefits are running out. Buff, his demure but sexy caseworker at the unemployment office, comes through with a job referral in the nick of time: There’s a blind, 88-year-old German movie star named Andrea Kauffman in Butte who needs a personal assistant for a few hours each week. How did she end up there, you ask? Let’s keep it under wraps for now. Billy happily escorts Andrea about town, taking her to diners and describing for her all the paraphernalia on display in the town’s old brothel (now a museum). He also develops a highly unprofessional relationship with Buff at the unemployment office—only to discover, just as he’s reached the point of meeting the relatives, that her father is the dean who years ago had him expelled from college. Does Buff want to waste her time on a slacker like Billy? Does Billy want to waste his time on eldercare? It turns out that there’s more to Andrea than anyone had suspected, and Billy is in line for a major career move. Plus it looks like he can take Buff along with him, in more ways than one.

Worth a look: Obvious and a bit corny, but a good-spirited narration and some interesting western scenery.

Pub Date: July 1st, 2002
ISBN: 1-58574-458-1
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Lyons Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2002