The Potato Baron

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More About This Book

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Fay Hallwick Pooler, 42, loves her husband Austin but feels that he cares more about potatoes than he does about her. She gives him an ultimatum: abandon their Maine potato farm and start a new life with her, or end their 20-year marriage. Then, because she can't stand another winter in White Pine, she takes off with eight-year-old son Blake to Mexico, Florida and a Tucson trailer camp. Austin, a Harvard grad, decides to paint his yellow farm buildings heliotrope purple on the day Fay leaves; he's the quixotic kind of guy who once ate nothing but milk and potatoes for 40 days. These stolid potato farmers are not undersexed: Austin has had an affair with Lauren, his neighbor and childhood sweetheart. Now Fay moves in with Mexican rock record importer Ricardo, while Austin beds Ricardo's young Mexican mistress, whose heart he threatens to eviscerate, just like the Mayas. Fay's abrupt leap for freedom hardly seems an act of liberation, and both halves of this ``sexually enlightened couple of the north country'' are so self-centered, we don't give a spud whether they're ever reunited. Thorndike ( Anna Delaney's Child ) has written a protracted, tuberose tale of marital woe, instead of the offbeat, touching novel this wants so desperately to be. (May)
Library Journal
For generations Poolers have been farming potatoes in a raw, remote corner of northern Maine. This tradition is threatened when after 20 years of marriage Austin Pooler's wife, Fay, packs up and leaves Maine. She wants Austin to come with her, but he--though prosperous and Harvard-educated--is inextricably bound to the fertile Maine soil. Fay wanders from Mexico to Florida and finally settles in Arizona. Both she and her husband form temporary liaisons with others , but their strong attachment eventually brings them back together again. In the end Austin, rather predictably, elects to give up the potato farm for life with Fay in Tucson. Convincing, well-drawn characters and an earthy prose style lift this novel to just above average fare. From the author of Anna Delaney's Child ( LJ 8/86).-- Laurence Hull, Cannon Memorial Lib., Concord, N.C.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780394577128
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/15/1989
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Pages: 285

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