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Monday, July 30, 2012

Patron Book Reviews: Chango's Beads and Two-Toned Shoes

Posted by EPL patron and guest blogger Irv S.

William Kennedy's Chango's Beads and Two-tone Shoes may be the epitome of the post-modern novel.  The characters are more important that their relationships and the relationships are more important than the action.  The major plot line is interesting by certainly not spellbinding and the subplots are barely noticeable.  The narrator is a novelist who is compelling and probably longer than it needed to be but the author/narrator would assure you that it contains precisely the correct number of words and pages, neither too many nor too few.

It is strictly a first person narrative.  Or is it?  Some of the (very limited) action occurs outside the presence of the narrator.  It is often necessary to re-read passages of dialog to determine who is speaking.  Kennedy often lets the reader puzzle it out--a technique that I enjoy, though, when overused, it can be frustrating.

Kennedy shows a deep affection and respect for society's underdogs, the victims of poverty, crime, and drugs; and a loathing for the politically powerful and corrupt (the latter terms are a tautology in Kennedy's world.)  He says, "People who don't have any money don't have an luck.  They hit the number once in a while but it's stacked against them.  Sometimes they don't even collect when they do get a hit.  The boys refuse to pay them off

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