Re: RARA-AVIS: Scott Phillips: The Walkaway

From: Kerry Schooley (
Date: 02 Sep 2002

At 12:55 PM 02/09/2002 -0400, you wrote:

>ICE HARVEST was very close and tight and linear, and Phillips exploded for
>this book. The narrative is complicated and there are so many characters,
>related by blood, marriage, adultery or history, that it takes a while to
>get it all figured out.

I'm about a third through WALKAWAY and my feeling is that this is a much more ambitious book than ICE HARVEST, possibly in a larger, even more ambitious project. This seems to be a social history of post-war Witchita, and the effect of rapid industrialization on a community and its citizens.

I agree with Bill that it's complex. I've had to go back and remind myself of who's who, and their coiling relationships. Phillips also changes voice. Most of the book is written in the third person, with the focus of the narration shifting. This is interspersed with chapters written in the first person, shifting the points of view among different major characters.

THE WALKAWAY is also very funny, with some excellent one-liners and lost characters. It is also hardboiled, but so far I'm not sure its a crime novel- not in its main focus anyway. Not that that impedes enjoyment. If I weren't married, with a wife who firmly believes sunny holiday weekends should be spent out-of-doors visiting friends and relatives, I would have finished this book by now.


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