Phrases. Pete Dexter’s latest novel, Spooner, has been worth the long wait, and provided me with a reminder of why I like Dexter’s writing so much. His characters are deeply developed, and full of the quirks and odd behaviors that bring them to life. Protagonist Spooner and his father, Calmer, are especially rich in their depth, but the full ensemble provide a range of behavior and breadth of personalities that brought me plenty of reading pleasure. Dexter’s approach to narrative moves forward and backward, with a focus on either Spooner or Calmer. Consistently, the narrative encourages the reader to become immersed in their situation and their challenges. Dexter’s finest quality is his language: each sentence has been carefully constructed, and phrases are worth reading more than once as a way to savor Dexter’s talent. I laughed often while reading Spooner, and also found myself reflecting on family relationships and the compromises and misunderstandings that can form our choices and lead us through life’s adventures.
Rating: Four-star (Highly Recommended)