EELGRASS by Joe Ashby Porter


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Maybe a new piece of artistic legislation is in order: for a time, in the interest of future fiction, all imagined islands ought to be landfilled into conjunction with the mainland. An island is the scene (and major fault) of Joe Ashby Porter's druggy fable: on it live five young people summering together in a large house, a witchy spinster violinist, a family on vacation from the city, and an old widow. The violinist wants the kids' house, the citypeople are involved in making a million dollars via the ship-to-shore radio, the kids do ali manner of drugs and work really hard at being idyllic. And let's not leave out Gall and Faye, a pair of speed-pushing sprites, and Babe, a nocturnally carnivorous, wild-child monster, all three of whom live in the woods. Under a mythological haze, the book is so taken with its mood of isolation that all it ever manages to do is juxtapose its flatly clichÉd (except for the kids) characters. Too bad in a way, since Porter writes cleanly--there's a realistic drug bacchanale that's very good indeed--and you feel that a little bit of tension might have pushed the book down into rock and held it. Instead there are only chapter-to-chapter resonances and bounce-offs, and slightly cloying ephemera about sums it up. Fill in that water!

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 1977
ISBN: 0811206556
Publisher: New Directions