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A Great Place to Die

A Great Place to Die

by Sean Connolly
Sojourners seek sense, stability, and survival in a novel of cosmic quests and comic answers.


Sojourners seek sense, stability, and survival in a novel of cosmic quests and comic answers.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Connolly's first novel sits two friends down at their favorite gathering place, the Black Dog Inn, outside of Pittsfield, Mass., and lets them talk. Charlie, who does nearly all the storytelling, takes Garth on a wide-ranging verbal journey centering on Bill, a hitchhiker Charlie picked up outside Springfield. Bill is tracking down his son, who was given up for adoption by his mother, an unstable artist now constructing a gigantic sculpture called Stonebird on a Tennessee mountaintop. Charlie and Bill team up and crisscross the Eastern seaboard, chasing the boy and his adoptive parents, encountering visionaries, lunatics and saints along the way. The prevailing tone is light and loopy, but Connolly's prose, comprised of trippy sentences that aim to add to the sense of onrushing adventure, can be annoying: "It's all a pretense unless your every act is a passionate performance of what you know to be the true condition of our groveling defiance here on a speck of dust gone lush and swirling about in a sea of suns..."). The ending, too, disappoints, when it reveals that "everybody is pregnant by everybody else and no one seems to care." Many will find it too clever by half when it becomes clear that Garth and even the waitress know more about Charlie's saga than he does. (Mar.)
Library Journal
Carousing at the Black Dog Inn, Charles recounts to a friend the recent events of his life-an "endless soap opera" now centered on his chance meeting with hitchhiker William Cutshall, who weaves a tale of intrigue about his attempt to find his missing son. After giving up her son for adoption, William's wife, Carol, had become obsessed with building a sculpture she called Stonebird. Constructed from varnished stones, this sculpture stretched across the vast Western landscape to "celebrate the compelling need to embrace the earth lest it destroy us through our indifference and ignorance." In the course of his drunken evening at the inn, Charles describes his longtime personal involvement with William and the entourage of characters that garnish his adventurous lifestyle. Despite a medley of peculiar characters and circumstances, the book doesn't really work; the jumps from Charles's tale back to the inn gets in the way of a smooth understanding of the plot. Not required for most collections.-David A. Beron, Univ. of New England Lib.,Beddiford, Me.

Product Details

University Press of New England
Publication date:
Hardscrabble Books-Fiction of New England
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.74(d)

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