GROWN MEN by S.M. Mawe

GROWN MEN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Two guys work through their respective midlife crises by renewing a long-dead tennis rivalry, their match being the main event in this ever-so-serious debut that devolves into a seemingly unintentional parody of the game and all who play or love it. Austin is the local boy made good: college grad, bank president, millionaire, family man, and club champion at the tennis club he founded. Jack, on the other hand, is a flashy, flabby yacht salesman, a backslapper, a ladies' man thrice married, a clown on the court and off. The point of convergence between the two is tennis, which they picked up at the same time while growing up in the same neighborhood. Now, decades later, they are secretly envious of one another--Austin because of his unhappy marriage and his perception that Jack seems to succeed effortlessly in spite of himself; and Jack because of his crushing debt and a perennial hand-to-mouth existence that he finds increasingly hard to mask. With this psychological baggage they meet to play again one hot Florida morning at Austin's club. As point follows bitter point in a no-holds-barred, dead-even, thoroughly clichâd match; as club members are drawn to watch like so many acolytes at a High Mass; and as the narrative viewpoint floats back and forth across the net, randomly straying out of bounds into the crowd to capture the thoughts of one of Jack's errant sons or Austin's VP's, each of the two men finds the resolve to change his life in a way he had thought impossible. True to life, after a fashion, but as this grudge match unfolds, so does a contradiction: For all the lavish attention devoted to serve and volley, to both the inner and the outer game, the final impression is of thinly disguised contempt for the sport.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0976542099
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Avon