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on January 25, 2000
T. R. Pearson's "Cry Me A River" has convinced me it's time to sell the television. I'd forgotten how delightful it is to fall in love with the characters in his books and laugh until my sides ache at his genius presentations. I tried reading the excerpt about the graveside "...twenty one gun sendoff" to my sister over the phone but just couldn't get through it from choking with laughter. I can't imagine this will ever make it to audio unless it's done by a computer. If you want to take your mind on a 'who-done-it' that makes you cringe, gape in awe and puzzlement, laugh out loud and at times nearly (or actually) gag, this will lead the way.. Every nuance of the people and places comes through so well--I could nearly smell the stale rye on Ellis's breath and half expected to hear the Ledger delivered at the front door. "Cry Me A River" made me the kind of homesick for friends, family and a place to live that is available only by reading about them from a safe distance. I didn't want to turn the last page.
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on March 27, 2000
T.R. Pearson's sixth novel, Cry Me A River, is a brilliant tale that is abundant with sensitivity and intelligence. Pearson takes the reader on a journey that begins in a small Southern town and ends with a solved murder. During this journey, Pearson invites us to study a town that is rich with jealousy and love. Thae narrator's fellow police officer is the man who is murdered. After the crime, the narrator is determined to piece together clues and solve the crime. However, the narrator has a tendency to find sympathy for people who are under the influence of jealousy. During the narrator's "quest for justice," the reader will learn a lot about the victim, the town, and the relationships between the men and women who occupy it. By the end of the novel, Pearson has not only solved the crime, he has captured and described the corrupt innocence of this small Southern town. "Cry Me A River" is an intelligent novel that's main success is in its portrayal of relationships of the innocent yet corrupt citizens of the town. Pearson succeeds at capturing the reader early on and taking them on a journey that is a sheer delight.
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on March 26, 2000
T.R. Pearson offers a fresh and entertaining approach to describe the nature of human relationships. The novel itself is a story--a story ment to be told to someone casually, over a drink, serving as a best defence against boredom. Although the narrator is the main character, the participant in his story, he seems detached, almost alienated from the world and people around him. He is the observer, the stranger caught in the world he doesn't quite understand. As the novel progresses, he discovers not only the people around him, but himself and the place where he belongs.
The novel is centered around the murder, its causes and consequences in a small Southern town. However, this center serves as a background for the net of distinct and sharply observed characters. The simplicity and naiveness of each is tragicomedic; the layers of every character so skillfully unveiled, reveal their essence, their quest for acceptance and belonging, their fight against loneliness (the narrators sister-in-law for example finds her "aristocratic" roots and changes her behavior accordingly). The author suggests that every event in the monotonnous routine of the town--murder, unfaithfullness, jealousy, hate, gossip--serves as an enterntainment. The narrator as well as a set of his unforgettable characters--the old couple who runs off together, the neighbor with his aerobic practices and records, the young couple at the movies--are stunned by their surroundings. They don't know what to do with themselves; quite literally they have been placed into the world they don't understand and didn't choose. In the realtionships, contacts, and interactions, they try to hide their loneliness and their alienation.
The reader could recognize and realte to their struggle, as every character resembles the battle of identity and individuality--an ongoing process in every society. As the author simply puts it, "...we were after all, under the surface of things, a community of passionate people who sometimes salughtered each other for love (2)." Whether it is a unsingnificant town in the South or a cosmopolitan center of the world, we are looking for the place to fit in, for the place to belong, the place which we may call our own. The author introduces a concept of "transformation" in several chapters. The person is transformed or waiting for someone to be transformed. As a result of this transformation, he/she gains a different perspective, a different or new outlook, and is viewed and interpreted differently by others. Such was the transformation of the narrator's stepfather, and transformation was expected from Red by her lovers. The notion of transformation is the destination of the search for identity and freedom. To be transformed means to find at least one aspect of individuality and stability; in a way it is the acceptance, the placement in a particular section or stream of life.
The story is skillfully constructed; it is enterntaining, sharp with sense of humor and a hint of sarcasm. Although the narrator often wanders off from the actual murder story, the suspence is still present. It could easily be predicted who the murderer is early on in the story, but what is more intersting is the fate of these colorful characters and of the narrator himself.
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on September 30, 2013
On page 2 of Cry Me a River, T. R. Pearson's sixth novel, the narrator, a policeman, writes of his small town in eastern Virginia near Roanoke: "Our tragic episode [suggests] that we were, after all, under the surface of things, a community of passionate people who sometimes slaughtered each other for love." The "tragic episode" refers to the murder of two men, a suicide, and the downfall of a femme fatale who is at the heart of the conflict.

When the narrator's friend, a fellow police officer, is murdered, police have no clue who did the deed, except for a Polaroid photo of a nude woman, tucked into a fold of the murdered man's wallet; a suspicious person who has been severely beaten; and a person of interest seen driving a sizable yellow Cadillac sedan.

A French phrase sums up the truth of the case: "Cherchez la femme" ("look for the woman"). The narrator says the woman in question "seemed to have a fairly mystical effect. She occupied a middle ground between belle and slattern, between proper women and sluts. She didn't attempt to disguise her itch and was hardly ashamed of indulging her urges." Her magical allure threw a hypnotic spell upon men. It's no surprise, then, when "you get three boys [young men] like these together with only one girl between them, one of them's bound to be rubbed raw and find himself set off."

Cry Me a River contains Mr. Pearson's signature zany humor, such as Monroe, the narrator's female mongrel, an extravagantly flatulent and vaporous creature that prefers to dine on rotten food from the dumpster, and Ellis, the town drunk who aspires to be a cop. However, the novel is darker and more serious than the author's previous offerings.

Although Cry Me a River is entertaining, I have a quibble with this work: its denouement, although plausible, is too pat. The author concocts an easy, convenient way to bring the story to a close. And the final chapter is anticlimactic. But not to worry; anything by T. R. Pearson is worth your time.
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on March 26, 2000
T.R. Pearson's thoughts of the late twentieth-century life in the Southern states are clearly characterized by his bleak humour and by his unique style of story-telling. In his "Cry Me a River", Pearson, like many other Southern storytellers keeps his listeners on the balls of their feet. Pearson does this by making all of his meanderings extremely interesting, while making sure that all the roads ultimately lead back to the main event. "Cry Me a River" is a wonderful illustration of this tactic. It is a detective novel whose revelations never quite add up to absolute certainty or a clear-cut conviction, but something even better --justice.
"Cry Me a River" deals with the account of a policeman (Mendle) who is shot to death outside a small town west of Virginia. One of his colleagues not named who is the character, begins a search for the killer. The story is a mystery according only to the loosest of definition; instead though, the narrator unfolds long stretches of comical stories of his fellow citizens. Some readers enjoy trying to weed out the sense and serious matter in these sentences. Yet, there may be others who do not find this game to be funny at all. "Cry Me a River" begins with the image of a woman who "hadn't been born into loveliness though plainly she'd compensated, could manufacture well enough what she needed of seduction, fabricate what she required of charm" (2). Pearson then continues to digress into numerous funny tales of murderous rage, bloody wrecks, domestic battles, and unforgiving cops. Yet, when this woman's image reappears as a creased Polaroid in the secret hiding place of the wallet of a dead man, it almost seems that we as readers have been secretely carrying it around too.
Pearson's novel is a tale of crime and punishment. "I'd not however, had much call to see too many murdered ones since locally we weren't given ourselves to that variety of mayhem" . This mayhem however deals with the fact that if the story is not good enough, you simply make one up. This is what the narrator does in fact throughout the entire novel. Pearson's rambling seems to tell us the whole story, but not the whole truth. The way in which I was able to deal with his picaresque style is through his funny writing.
A number of very funny moments and sharply obscene scenes emerge. The account of the dangling of a car-thief off the bridge, the descriptions of varioius murders from the narrator's past and of the uncomfortable Christmas he spends with his brother's family have their own minimal means. Other pieces like the coctail parties of his gay neigbor, or the fighting over porno movies are even funnier in their own way.
Despite all of this joking and comedy in his work, Pearson is still able to suggest the serious manner in his work. In the end, both the narrator who is responsible for an unnecesarry death and his tale remain unsatisfying. "Cry Me a River" is simply a murder mystery told Pearson's way, and is the reconciliation between the individual and the community.
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on October 23, 2012
Pearson is an acquired taste that will have you smiling and laughing as you read, provided that you enjoy his extended sentences, parenthetical asides, and narrative writing with little dialogue. He writes about small Southern towns where everyone knows each other, or thinks they do. Humor, violence, passion, compassion, you name it are all found in his exquisite observations about human nature at its best and worst. This is his sixth novel and is a murder mystery, unconventionally rendered but with an impact nonetheless. Read it first if you wish, but do not miss his first three novels,a trilogy starting with A Short History of a Small Place. They are masterpieces of humorous, but meaningful, fiction.
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on May 27, 2013
"Cry Me a River" was the first and is still my favorite of T.R. Pearson's southern Gothic "crime" novels with his laid-back yet amusingly insightful narrator Ray Tatum.

"Cry Me a River" is one of the few books that I've laughed out loud while reading -- and the fascinating thing about the book is that the humor is tied up in the twists and turns of Pearson's masterful control of language, scene, setting, and character.

The plot of the story -- while complicated enough for most writers to be able to execute -- is just the starting point for Pearson's wonderfully intricate descriptions and language play that turns a relatively simple moment into a complex mess of layered intentions, contradictory impulses and metaphorical asides.

It is not as strange as "Polar," and the narrator's voice is not as off-kilter and amusing as "Short History of a Small Place"; yet it's not as straightforward as his masterfully tight nearly-straight crime novel "Blue Ridge."

This novel is incredibly funny, but the observational humor isn't a side show -- it's a razor sharp scalpel applied to the human condition. It's a funny novel for real adult readers, who understand the deeper existential points being made underneath the cover of the wry observations made by Tatum.

Still remains one of my favorite novels, although I read this nearly two decades ago.
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on March 28, 2000
T.R. Pearson's sixth novel, Cry Me A River, is a hilarious tale of a murder mystery that happens in a small southern town. Pearson writes this story using nothing but humor and laugh out loud comedy. He gives very descriptive details and uses a clear painted picture to tell his story to readers. He allows his readers to get comfortable and fit right into the story. You can never loose intrest in this book, with his sense of humor. The narrator keeps the tale going and you can become drawn into the story while learning about the people in this small town. The narrator reveals the story and the hidden truths of the town, telling it as though he were not a part of the story. He speaks about the jealousy, lies, hate, and lonliness of the people in the town.
While unraviling this murder mystery, we get to learn about the strange people in this town, like the brothers who debate and battle about who is the bigger porno star, the two sisters who give oral gratification to men while they are driving, and the wife who cuts up and dispenses her husband, who is a local town whore. This book may be fiction, but it does not sway far away from the truth. Pearson brings this book with not only humor, but with much truth and closeness to reality. If you enjoy murder mystery's than you will definetly enjoy this book brought to you with comedy and immediate laughter.
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