Kirkus Reviews QR Code
LIFE BETWEEN WARS by Robert H. Patton

LIFE BETWEEN WARS

By Robert H. Patton

Pub Date: May 1st, 1997
ISBN: 1-877946-97-4
Publisher: Permanent Press

 Patton, the grandson of Gen. George S. Patton (and the author of a frank, much praised memoir, The Pattons: A Personal History of an American Family, 1994), makes an impressive debut as a novelist with the simultaneous publication of two books (see below). This one is an edgy, tough-minded portrait of the lives, secrets, resentments, and longings of a group of year-round residents on Penscot Island (a place overwhelmed by tourists in the summer, but isolated and grim through much of the rest of the year), distinguished by Patton's grasp of what life is like for some truly marginalized figures (struggling fishermen and their frustrated, despairing wives, rootless Vietnam vets, a variety of wanderers incapable of setting down roots anywhere) and by his ability to keep a complex plot involving murder, vengeance, and the struggle to settle old ghosts in motion. The voices ring true, the victories here are believably muted, and Patton's evocation of a harsh, beautiful place is exact and convincing. A precise, powerful effort.