LITTLE AUGIE'S LAMENT by Mark McGarrity

LITTLE AUGIE'S LAMENT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A little novel that you can enjoy like those little hamburgers from the drive-in joints. Little Augie is the short order cook at one such (silver mustang out in the lot) and king of all he surveys from curb to curb. Off his own turf it's hard to conceive of him existing at all, and McGarrity leaves it to us to imagine his dreary background and future. For here and now, mid '60's, he plays the classic, charismatic American punk -- cocky, brooding, short-like-Cagney -- and we know him mostly on the testimony of his teen retinue. The novel's about how two of them, a guy and a girl who dearly have more going for them than Augie does, come to see through and beyond him. The reality they break into isn't really too convincing, but that's okay, the hamburger ethos is (except for the music -- no music!); and the point of Augie's arrested development seems tidily made when we suddenly get an epilogue from the hero himself. It's meant either to vindicate him or expose him as a nastier case than we thought; the novel doesn't tell which -- or what finally, to make of the book. The flavor's good, but you can't vouch for the substance.

Pub Date: Jan. 2nd, 1972
Publisher: Grossman