Regular readers of Calvin Trillin's essays in The New Yorker know that he doesn't write about people who live the kind of lives that lead to murder in order to disparage them. In Trillin's telling, the oddball in Iowa or the trailer-park tenant in Tennessee takes on a dignity that transcends his circumstances. In Barrett Whitener's narration, that dignity is lost. He describes the characters, most of whom live in small towns and have endured more than their share of bad luck and bad decision-making, in a clipped, judgmental tone. These essays, part of The New Yorker's U.S. Journal series from the 70's, are not typical murder tales in that they tell us more about the nuances of individual lives in particular times and places than about gore and mayhem. It's too bad the narrator can't appreciate those nuances. T.F. (c) AudioFile, Portland, Maine
--This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.