COME AND GO, MOLLY SNOW by Mary Ann Taylor-Hall


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 Taylor-Hall writes well, but little actually happens in this debut novel. Carrie Marie Mullins is a bluegrass fiddler living in Lexington, Ky. During her ``wildest-of-the-wild period,'' she makes a baby with a stranger from Georgia who's just passing through, a decision rationalized by the fact that her permanent crush, musician Cap Dunlap, is flirting with another woman. For a while she plays in a female band known as ``Pearl's Girls,'' but when Dunlap invites her to join his more successful group, she does, becoming ``a woman with a baby in a man's world.'' Then her daughter dies in an accident. Dunlap discovers her breaking down and delivers her to his grandmother's farm, where she begins to recover. This is all interesting, in a well-worn sort of way, since there's nothing new about an elusive bad-boy musician or a wild woman on the loose. But once Mullins hits the farm, she spends much too much time wandering around enjoying nature. Taylor-Hall has simply not given her narrator enough to do. There's a little feminist revelation thrown in about her own parents (``Mama, given her experience with Daddy, should have helped us change our way of thinking about men. But no. At Christmastime to this day, I still get a box of sexy lingerie--you know, teddies and silk bikinis and merry widows--with a card saying, `Love from Santa.' What kind of mother is that, pray tell?''). But all the attempts to create order--in the form of a plot--out of chaos, are too little and too late. Taylor-Hall's prose has a lyrical rhythm that does successfully imitate bluegrass music, but it's often interrupted by embarrassingly silly, folksy ruminations like ``They say a fiddler's bound to fiddle,'' or by plain self-pity. Like its main character, this novel breaks down in the middle, but it never recovers.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-393-03735-5
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Norton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 1994