are books based on character development.
There are books based on plot development. Then, there books that, well…there are books like Spikes,
by Michael Griffith, Associate Editor of The Southern Review at
Louisiana State University.
a book about golfing, this work delves into thought processing, narratives
about the goalsetting mania we all experience in life. Include in that: tirades on personal loss, putting up with
other people (even ones we hate), as well as obsessive grasping for things
we cannot have and the fickleness of success.
main character, Brian Schwan, is a failure at only twenty-six.
If you don’t make it by then, Brian thinks, you are dead.
He has just finished the worst golf game of his life, even as the
golfer he is partnered with has completed his best.
beautiful reporter who has mistaken him for his partner tries to interview
him. Brian cannot bring
himself to tell her the truth about who he is, and the story is off and
running. He tries to go after
the reporter and ruin his marriage as well as his golf game.
follows is funny and unpredictable in the extreme.
Frankly, I gave up trying to out-guess the author as to what would
happen next. And that is
precisely the point; I
didn’t have to. For the
journey itself was as enjoyable and important to me as the final outcome
of the book.
outrageous descriptions of his characters, the funny, offbeat reasoning of
the southern folk-persons: be they red-necked, upper-crust, big-butted
blowhards, or squeamish worrywarts. Iit
was all a wonderful trip for me. Rollercoastering
along at breakneck speed, I was sucked in by narrative-both compulsive and
entertaining. It was like
looking through a rotating prism and seeing all the lights, varying in
intensity and hue, spectrums cast by descriptions alive with fury,
lightness, humor and craziness.
took effort, I will allow, to take in all of Mr. Griffith’s wordiness
sometimes. But, by slamming
my mental gears into reverse, I could back up in order to re-read for the
second time a refreshing and different aspect of something that I might
find only bland in real life. But
then, what is writing if not an act of interpretation and perspective?
I felt as if the author were being true to himself and I was only a
passenger and not a reader, privileged enough to be asked along for the
example, there is a scene about halfway through the book, where the female
reporter “dresses down” Brian. I
mean! Men been turned down by
women before, but if they had been verbally lashed like she shot down
Bryan, most of us men would be in jail for murder!
A study in extremes. A lesson in opposites. I say, “Get it! Get it now! Get it before your bookstore runs out of copies! I got mine. You get your own!”
2001 Southern Scribe Reviews, All Rights Reserved