His third novel (after Decatur Road and Kentucky Love, establishes Coomer as one of our most talented young writers. If A Flatland Fable has a moral, it could be this: even in the dullest of places, unexpected and wonderful things can happen. There is certainly not a lot to do in Eckley, a town whose largest employer is the Eckley Grain Elevator. But the flat land is perfect for baseball; the events of the novel take place on the day of the big Little League game. Horgan is the Little League coach, the town fireman, and an unambitious but likable guy. Vaguely dissatisfied, he feels he has spent his life waiting for things, as if some momentous event is always just about to occur. By the end of the day, he is no longer bored. In the meantime, he tries to make his wife Kidder pregnant, visits his dying father in the hospital, and attends to some fires. Coomer also affectionately describes the activities of Sickopoose, Pillsneck, Shrugsby et al., the endearing, pint-sized members of the team, as they prepare for the evening's game by sliding into chickens, throwing balls at roofs and mothers, and setting fires. Coomer brings Eckley to life with a loving eye for detail, an original, dry humor, and a strong sense of story and rhythm. Written to a human scale, this fable is absorbing, astonishing, and lovely. (April)
Horgan's observation that ``life is what happens while you are waiting for something else'' summarizes this beautiful novel by a young Texas author. Horgan, at 40, has been waiting for life to happen. As Eckley's fireman and Little League baseball coach, he waits for a fire; he anticipates a win. As a devoted family man, he awaits the impending death of his father; he anticipates news that the long-awaited first child is finally conceived. He awaits some things without realizing that he waits. Then, without warning, the waiting ends, and this one day in Horgan's life makes up for all the others. A story for everyone who has ever anticipated an eventa life. A Flatland Fable combines a wonderful prose style and striking imagery into a thoroughly enjoyable tale. Highly recommended. Thomas L. Kilpatrick, Southern Illinois Univ. at Carbondale Lib.