0812540247 From Publishers Weekly Interleaved with accounts of the pi?a colada sunsets from the jet-set journalist-turned-novelist narrator's present-day life, this nostalgic novel recalls the summer of 1957, when the young Ray "Skeeter" Hawkins fell in love with the woman who haunts him still. When Angie Boudreau gets off the Spokane Greyhound at the Umatilla, Ore., drugstore where Skeeter works, the 16-year-old kidAgiven his nickname because, until his recent growth spurt, he'd been "no bigger than a mosquito"Ais immediately smitten by the ear-pierced, almond-eyed stranger who's reading Camus. He soon has a rival for Angie's attentions, howeverAthe school's star halfback, Billy Karady. So insular is Umatilla that, even when Karady attempts to rape Angie, and a number of other rapes occur nearby, his status as an athlete and minion of the larger-than-life Coach Mungo protects him. Angie and Ray begin going steady, and the self-obsessed, troubled Karady stalks the naive lovers. After Karady becomes more threatening, shooting at them and attempting to run them off the road, the sweethearts, influenced by the tenets of existentialism they have read about, take matters into their own hands. The plot then becomes dubious, with absurd crimes, cover-ups and disappearances. To Van Pelt's credit, he captures the feel of adolescence in the 1950s, but the narrative suffers after Angie moves away and the narrator discusses his adult life in slightly offensive terms. His wife, "the Filipina," reminds him of Angie physically, and is a real catch because she's "good-looking, uncomplicated, and caring." It is not until he's in New Orleans for an American Booksellers Association conventionAhe's been publishing novels under the pseudonym Nicholas van Pelt, and, like Thomas Pynchon, has never allowed a photo of himself to be publishedAthat Ray Hawkins discovers what really happened to Billy Karady. The self-referentiality of this novel destroys the suspense and makes it almost farcical. Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition. From Kirkus Reviews A 1950s fictional memoir of teenage sex, existential small-town blues, and a nasty bully who doesn't know when to quit. After his wacky, Pynchonesque thriller debut, Mongoose Man (1998), van Pelt veers into twisted nostalgia with a squeamishly adolescent, rites-of-passage sex-capade set in a tiny, dusty Oregon farm town. Its 1957 and pruriently prodigal 16-year-old Ray ``Skeeter'' Hawkins, earning spare change as a drugstore janitor, gets a wink from slim, sexy Angie Boudreau as she steps off the bus. Angie, whose American Indian ancestry gives her exotic features, has come to the forlorn hamlet of Umatilla to stay with relatives and finish out her high school years. She sees something in Raythe son of a crippled, former bootlegger with a struggling farmthat no one else does, least of all the testosterone-charged bully and high-school football hero Billy Karady, who thinks every pretty girl is his to conquer. Angie and Ray quickly become a couple, passionately discussing Camus's The Stranger while indulging in R-rated groping in the front seat of Ray's battered car, only to be stalked and threatened by Karady, who, Angie soon reveals, almost raped her when Ray wasn't around. Karady's envy leads to increasingly violent encounters with Ray, whose puny stature and intellectualized cowardice prevent him from trouncing Karady. When Ray and Angie hear of a series of rape-murders on the outskirts of town, their attempt to stick Karady with the crime goes awry. Forty years later, Ray, now a globe-trotting journalist-turned-novelist writing under the name van Pelt, expects Karady to jump out and challenge him in every locale he inhabits. The eventual confrontation is a letdown, as it inevitably must be, and afterward Hawkins/van Pelt reveals that Stomp! is less nostalgic idyll than postmodern critique of existentialism. Endearing comic invention, small-town ang. Buchnummer des Verkäufers BX-000107.U
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