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Rootie Kazootie


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About the Author

Lawrence Naumoff has received a National Endowment for the Arts grant, the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Award, and a Whiting Writer's Award, among others. He was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina, and lives outside Chapel Hill.


Naumoff's second novel (following The Night of the Weeping Women , LJ 6/15/88) is a vibrant, though often unconvincing, look at the marital woes of a fortyish North Carolina couple, eccentric Caroline and wandering Richard. Caroline, whose unpredictable behavior makes even her husband wary, is holding tight to the marriage, even as Richard leaves home for rich, obnoxious divorcee Cynthia. Caroline is a colorful character, but Richard is less well defined, and what he sees in thoroughly unlikeable Cynthia is hard to imagine. A rousing, often funny novel, but not altogether sensible or believable. For larger popular fiction collections.-- Ann H. Fisher, Radford P.L., Va.

Naumoff's ( The Night of the Weeping Women ) second novel, the story of a marriage that goes to pieces, contains too many unresolved and even undetermined issues. The protagonists, zany Caroline and her stolid husband Richard, are too opaque and unknowable for readers to develop any sustained sympathy or feeling for them. Richard begins an affair with Cynthia, separated from her husband, who keeps finding projects that Richard, a carpenter, can build or repair in her comfortable North Carolina home. We never understand Richard's motivations, however, or even what he really thinks he's doing. Caroline becomes enraged and drives a tractor into Cynthia's door, but this fury fails to charm or terrify us. Surprise pregnancies help the book stumble toward a conclusion, with a detour for a Mystical Moment that will leave readers yawning. While no doubt intended as satire of the Human Condition, Naumoff's novel, despite some good writing, is an unfortunate example of fiction delivered into print too soon; it has arrived stillborn. (Feb.)

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