RARA-AVIS: Chocolate Lizards, Cole Thompson

Peter Walker (pw@pw.cablenet.co.uk)
Sat, 4 Dec 1999 14:35:46 +0000

"Chocolate Lizards" Cole Thompson Pub No Exit (UK)

As they say in East Texas (apparently): Sharper'n a snake's ass an smarter than a shithouse rat. This is a sure fire winner. Great fun, lots of laughs, plenty of plot and character and well written to boot. It can't fail. Commentary Immediate impact in a first chapter which has got it all. Guy gets of Greyhound bus in windswept Texas town with no money etc. Makes you want to read more. There are moments of amateurish writing but this is largely youthful (?) enthusiasm. The relationshipbetween the two central characters - the older Roughneck Merle and the Yankee kid Erwin - runs through the book and is handled really well. Some real side cracking moments of laughter. Added to this there are some good little moments slipped in to the story and the plot/action is always on the go. You aren't quite sure what will happen next but you want to find out. Little gripe: sometime the good old Texas talk gets lost in the translation eg "Butchoo" = "But you" and
"Ever'thayng" = "everything" but, hell, it's an education. Its not a`top of the range' writing style a la Woodrell but Thompson has a good eye for descriptions/action and a good ear for dialogue. Youthful exuberance carries it though. Look out for the inevitable comparisons with Jim Thompson even if they aren't entirely justified other than something like "The best novel about wildcat oil rigs since...". There is a very good description of working on a rig. As you know I love my minor characters and see them as an indicator that a writer is giving his all. Thompson doesn't let us down with some wildly off the wall characters such as Scheermyer who has the complete works of Penthouse and the voluptuous Tex-Ann big Love (I think that's a made up name, by the way). They certainly live up to their billing. Good touch of North V South in it all which brings to mind that wacky TV programme
"Northern Exposure" (if you ever saw it) but its got that kind of feel to it. The whole plot centres on Merles rush to strike oil and all the obstacles in his way. It has a great conclusion to it which has you turning the pages not knowing whats going of happen. Good down beat ending. Pete recomends - so but it. Pete

# To unsubscribe, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to # To unsubscribe, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to majordomo@icomm.ca.
# The web pages for the list are at http://www.miskatonic.org/rara-avis/ .

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0b3 on Sat 04 Dec 1999 - 11:26:04 EST