THE SONG OF DANIEL by Philip Lee Williams


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Williams (Slow Dance in Autumn, 1988; etc.) has a gift for rollicking humor but also, alas, a penchant for the amateurish handling of more serious themes--as in this novel about the weak-minded Daniel Mitchell and his brief, intense relationship with Rebecca Gentry, an unhappy assistant professor at the University of Georgia. Daniel loves his job keeping the graves clean at Oconee Hill Cemetery; he talks to the dead and is perfectly happy with his horrible home in a wretched trailer park. Though he seems retarded, in fact he has shut off his intelligence in order to forget the childhood trauma of seeing one parent kill the other. Daniel and Rebecca meet when she takes to wandering the cemetery: her marriage has ended in divorce, her projected book on a North Georgia poet is going nowhere. Rebecca becomes so fascinated with Daniel that she considers having an affair with him. By the close, the truth about Daniel's past has come to light (though he quickly represses it and returns to his peaceful graveyard). Rebecca, under his influence, has "shed the skin of her cold intellectualism," found new information that will make her book a success, and even got her ex-husband back. Well-intentioned, but about as convincing as a soap opera.

ISBN: 934601-75-5
Publisher: Peachtree
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