LET US COUNT THE WAYS by Peter De Vries

LET US COUNT THE WAYS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

How do we love Peter De Vries? Let us make our little laundry list of love.... He's one of the few practicing comic novelists around worthy of the term, even though he can't plot; he's primed with puns, swizzled on words, and wrings extraordinary laughter from every ordinary situation. His father and son protagonists, who each share a hail of this book, are uncovered as gems of ordinariness. Stanley Waltz, a self made moving man of Slow Rapids, Indiana, is a diamond in the rough. His son Tom grows up to be a semi-precious stone, unable to love God or his fellow man. Waltz pete, in a pile up of fantastically funny scenes, describes the years that were formative for Tom in a household divided between Stan's 5 & 10¢ store atheism and his wife's embarrassingly fervent store front evangelism--she even gave him a Bible belt for his birthday. His abortive seduction campaign waged on a neighbor's wife deserves a stage setting. In a seeming triumph of that Old Time Religion, Stan is left reeling in a chronic, disabling hangover for nine years and Tom Waltz takes over the narrative. While the author's comic invention never flags, Tom is not the man his Daddy was and in his section of the book the laughter is more cerebral than abdominal. Tom, the self-removed prize in his family's religious war, became an English instructor on the staff of the local college-- enter top notch parodies of Shakespeare et al aha scattershot satire of the college community. Even if De Vries doesn't manage to sustain at book length the razzle dazzle of his comic conceptions, this is nevertheless the persistent nudge of thinking man's humor.

Publisher: Little, Brown