Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Return to Oakpine
Return to Oakpine is set in a small Wyoming town and features four central characters. As high school boys they formed a band that began and ended in 1969. Two of them left town after high school, and two stayed. Thirty years later, Jimmy has come home from life as a novelist in New York City to his parents who care for him as he dies of AIDS. Mason came home to sell his parents’ house, where he finds a better life than the one he’s been living as a successful lawyer in Denver. Frank stayed in town and owns the local bar. Craig owns the hardware store. Oakpine has changed in three decades, but the small town values remain pretty consistent. Through Craig’s high school son, Larry, we see both continuity and change. Jimmy helps Larry learn to play the guitar, and the other band members try to revive the group. Carlson develops each character with depth and intensity, revealing the broad scope of human behavior. This novel is one of those rare gifts: a finely written story, brief enough to read quickly, and deep enough to think about for a long time. Most readers will finish the novel feeling pretty good about human nature. Rating: Five-star (I love it) Click here to purchase Return to Oakpine from amazon.com.