Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyThe narrator of this ironic first novel, Weaver Walquist, a born-again Christian and member of a militant anti-abortion group, slowly falls in love with Kim Lindgren, a pregnant junior college dropout whom he meets at a St. Paul, Minn., abortion clinic. Weaver, once a devotee of pot and heavy-metal music, wants to rescue Kim from sin by persuading her to keep the baby rather than have an abortion. This self-righteous zealot has an overwhelming need to control and dominate women; he seethes with repressed rage at his domineering mother, Margaret, a widow who runs a Wisconsin liquor store and sends him a monthly check. In spare, nervous prose, Kirn (author of a story collection, My Hard Bargain ) succeeds brilliantly in fathoming the mindset of a moralistic misogynist, but Weaver's harrowing, bleak vision casts a pall over the whole novel. Weaver's violent showdown with Lucas Boone, a Prozac-popping, knife-wielding paranoid and rapist who heads the anti-abortion squad, signals the protagonist's leap to freedom and his last-minute realization that Kim, and every woman, has the right to have control over her own body. Kim, a greeting-card designer, is not a very interesting figure, and her disapproving parents, who own a North Dakota dairy farm, are self-centered nincompoops who belie the stereotypes of wholesome farmers. Kirn's shrewd insight into Weaver's motivations saves this timely melodrama from didacticism, but just barely. (Oct.)
Library JournalWeaver Walquist, substance abuser turned fundamentalist, meets Kim Lindgren at a most unlikely time--while he is protesting in front of the Minneapolis abortion clinic she is about to enter. Despite their differences, these two troubled individuals develop a curiously symbiotic relationship, an alliance tenuously balanced between friendship and unacknowledged love. Kim's pregnancy leads Weaver to attempt reconciliations with both their estranged families. After a disastrous visit to Kim's North Dakota home, they find refuge, and an unexpected resolution, with Weaver's mother in Wisconsin. Kirn sensitively portrays his main characters' painful emotional waltz, perfectly capturing the hesitancy and mistrust that sabotages their yearning. While the moral dilemmas of abortion play a part in this bittersweet tale, the novel focuses more on the hearts of its protagonists, touching the reader's heart along the way. Recommended for most collections.-- Lawrence Rungren, Bedford Free P.L., Mass.
Ray OlsonWeaver Walquist meets Kim Lindgren when he's lying down in front of a St. Paul abortion clinic, trying to discourage her from using its services. It may not be love at first sight, but it's enough to get Weaver to follow up on Kim's request that he personally help her. Born again after an adolescence spent moping and rebelling with booze, drugs, and heavy metal, Weaver thinks he's just going to save a soul. Perhaps he does, but it may be his. Kirn's first novel is magnetically readable, told simply but not simplemindedly from Weaver's point of view as the couple grows closer together, Weaver's fundamentalist guru goes bonkers, Kim's Dakota farm parents prove minimally helpful, and he and Kim finally have to fall back on Weaver's despised "mother the businesswoman." Chock-full of affecting and funny, affecting and creepy, and just plain affecting mundane incidents, and gingerly skirting sentimentality by means of strong characterization and an astringently ambiguous last page, this tale of two youngsters drifting in life and love might be the surprise hit first novel of the season.
- Atria Books
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- 5.50(w) x 8.44(h) x (d)
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