A Cautionary Tale

Book - 2001
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Ralph Crawford may be a talented short-story writer -- one of the best in the Bay Area, in America, in the 1970s; hell, in the whole English-speaking, late-middle-twentieth century -- but off the page he's only human. In fact, as his wife, Alice Ann, can attest, he's a mess: a jealous but faithless husband, an inveterate bouncer of checks, a plunderer of private misadventures for the sake of his fiction, and an often hapless drunk. When his (similarly human) buddy, Jim Stark -- a novelist burning with ambition, promise, and humiliation over his own failed marriage -- promises to deliver a cargo of incriminating letters to Ralph's latest paramour, a dark lady in Missoula named Lindsay Wolfe, the lives of all four are changed in ways none of them could predict.

Careening across the western states during the twilight of the San Francisco underground, Chuck Kinder's already semilegendary masterpiece, twenty-five years in the making, is a rueful, comi-tragic juggernaut of good and bad intentions gone awry, high seriousness and hard living, and the gradual, painful coming of age of two couples who have spent the best years of their lives raising bad judgment to an art. With affection and self-savaging wit, Kinder captures the siren song of the writerly vocation in all its squalor, destructiveness, and glory.

Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2001
ISBN: 9780374172589
Branch Call Number: FIC KIN
Characteristics: 357 p


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