DANCING ON GLASS by Susan Taylor Chehak


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 A murky, ingrown tale of violence and homosexual attraction by the author of The Story of Annie D. (1989) and Harmony (1990). The story opens with Katherine Von Vechten floating prettily to her death, in 1968, having crashed through a skylight of the country club in Cedar Hill, Iowa, and then it jumps forward 25 years as Katherine's husband Bader returns to Cedar Hill, having learned of the death of Roy Kimbel. Roy who? (Chehak's latest is nothing if not confusing.) Very slowly, it emerges that the two key years are 1919 and 1968. In 1919, a rift occurred between the town's leading families when 15-year-old Wolfgang Von Vechten, disapproving of his mother's remarriage to her dead husband's business partner Horace Craig, shot old Craig to death and then hanged himself. The surviving Craig sent the surviving Van Vechtens packing. Forward to 1968. Wolfgang's nephew Bader, both his parents dead in a car crash, shows up in Cedar Hill, a presentable college graduate. Has he come to practice law, sell real estate? Fat chance. Bader's mission is to write a book about Wolfgang's crime, but he's distracted by the delectable Katherine Craig, whom he marries in short order, though her charms have already paled beside those of 15-year-old Lee Kimbel, son of Bader's blue-collar neighbor Roy. (Curiously, the Kimbels, a thoroughly depressing bunch, get far more attention than the Craigs.) It is here that Katherine, suspecting she has a rival, sails through the skylight; soon after, Lee, protecting Bader from Katherine's old man Archie, shoots him with the exact same shotgun Wolfgang used, then kills himself. Before leaving town, Bader confesses his love for Lee to Roy and is beaten to a pulp by the outraged father. ClichÇ-ridden nonsense.

Pub Date: May 4th, 1993
ISBN: 0-395-60198-3
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1993