EXIT THE, RAINMAKER by Jonathan Coleman
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Here, Coleman, author of the best-selling true-crimer At Mother's Request (1985), makes a psychological Everyman out of Jay Carsey, a college president and pillar of Maryland society who suddenly walked out on his own life. On May 19, 1982, 47-year-old Jay Carsey disappeared from Green's Inheritance, the historic Georgian house his wife had made into a social focal point in Charles County, MD. President of the local community college, a highly paid engineering consultant for the Navy, Carsey was so likable and socially outgoing that everyone in genteel, southern Maryland seemed to think of him as a friend. Yet, instead of going to the office that morning, friendly ""Uncle Jay"" wrote a few terse notes to his wife and his friends and took off--shedding his identity like snakeskin. ""Exit the Rainman"" was all he wrote to the assistant dean of the college, a rueful reference to a college play he starred in--as a charismatic stranger who convinced a small town he could make rain. Coleman (who covered the story for CBS News) delves into Carsey's background and character, revealing a man so defined by pleasing others--by being the fair-haired ""rainmaker""--that he had virtually no) inner life. Interviewing Carsey's father in Texas, Coleman reveals that Carsey was raised to prize intellect over emotion, forsaking ""impractical"" interests like music and journalism. He focused on what looked good to others all his life--making the college a success, marrying a striking, gregarious wife. In the end, he had nothing but alcohol. Finally, Coleman picks up Carsey's trail in a new bohemian life in E1 Paso--battered by his journey underground and just a bit closer to the elusive truth of his real identity. A solidly written psychological chronicle of a man who lives the fantasy of striking out for the great unknown--only it tarns out to be a desert. Well done, and likely to be popular, but don't expect the devastating dark drama of Coleman's previous book.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1989
Publisher: Atheneum