Darling: A Novel

Darling: A Novel

by William Tester

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Tester's audacious first novel combines an expressionist style with a quasi- noir atmosphere in a startling story of sibling rivalry. The narrator, Bubba, is the younger of two brothers, both of whom have coupled with the eponymous Darling. The object of their love, and of their current acrimony is, however, a cow on the godforsaken family farm. As the novel opens, Bubba and elder brother Jeab,spok a Navy bomber pilot on leave, are quaffing beer and playing around with a loaded pistol. The narrative shifts back and forth through Bubba's childhood memories, amounting to a psychological tour of the young man's kinky past. Jeab has his own set of quirks, including pyromania, and the reader joins Bubba in wondering how he has sustained a naval career; Bubba chalks it up to a killer instinct and the desire to succeed. As the two drink their way through the early morning hours toward a cathartic dawn, the killer instinct comes upon Bubba too, and the gun becomes more of a factor in their twisted relationship. By then, the reader is ready for just about anything. (Jan.)
Library Journal - Library Journal
Sibling rivalry is often reconciled by time and distance, but brothers Jeab and Bubba tackle the problem head on, in a method born of their rural roots and Southern heritage, and pursue it to its logical conclusion. Faced off across a kitchen table sporting a loaded pistol and growing numbers of empty beer cans, they revisit long-held grievances and mind-embellished hurts, always confirming the relationship of elder to younger brother. They work through the issues of parental love and competition for the favors of cousin Kay. But they bristle with emotion over memories of ``Darling,'' a beautiful Holstein that each has singled out from the dairy herd to receive the best and worst of their sexual longings. Written in a stream-of-consciousness style, Darling is a fine first novel filled with sensual imagery and emotional turmoil from a first-rate young Southern writer. Readers will definitely want more.-- Thomas L. Kil patrick, Southern Illinois Univ. at Carbondale Lib.

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Knopf Publishing Group
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1st ed

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