Kowalski made a good impression with his sentimental first novel, Eddie's Bastard, and continues the story here as he takes hero Billy Mann out to Santa Fe on his motorbike to see if he can trace the mother who gave him away as a baby to be raised by his grandfather. There is no one left in Billy's life except Mildred, his grandfather's elderly companion, who acts like a widow in the wake of his death, and so Billy, now an aspiring writer, feels stifled in his upstate New York hometown. Once in Santa Fe, he meets a sinister Latino neighbor who tells him the girl working at the local cantina may be his sister; through her, Billy finds his mother, dying slowly of cancer in a hospital miles away. He nurses her faithfully in her closing days without ever telling her who he is, starts an affair with Consuelo, a Mexican-born former trapeze artist who is now a singer, quarrels with her, then goes back home and helps Mildred fight off efforts to close down a shelter for unwed mothers she has started in the family's old house. In the end, who should come back, repentant and pregnant, but Consuelo ("`I love you, Beelee.' `I love you, too,' I said. `I know that,' she said.") If all this sounds a little artless, it is. Kowalski has a relaxed, easygoing style, and one or two touching moments shine, but Billy is so utterly without affect, and the other characters are sketched so loosely, that the narrative feels severely underpopulated. This book suffers from a bad case of second-novel syndrome. Agent, Anne Hawkins. 10-city author tour.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Kowalski continues the story of Billy Mann, whose unconventional childhood was chronicled in Eddie's Bastard (1999). That novel concerned Billy's coming to terms with his dead father's family and their legacy of failed opportunities. Now, with his beloved grandfather dead, Billy sets out to find the mother who abandoned him, traveling from upstate New York to Santa Fe, her last known address. What he finds there are the remnants of several more dysfunctional families, his own and those of his girlfriend, a Latina singer and former circus performer who talks to angels. Kowalski's work should appeal to readers who like John Irving. Both writers are old-fashioned storytellers who favor incident-rich plots driven by idiosyncratic characters. Similar to the heroes of Hotel New Hampshire and Cider House Rules, Billy is an intelligent innocent whose wanderings bring him in contact with a host of odd, wounded, usually tenderhearted souls. There is an inescapable sentimentality at the root of all this that will seem cloying to some, moving to others, but on the whole, it is hard to resist the feel-good mood that Kowalski creates. Bill Ott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Thank goodness there was a sequel to "Eddie's Bastard". It was an enjoyable read. Not being a voracious reader or a literary critic I was quite satisfied with the... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Judith C Hall
Well written. I liked it, but since I read "Eddie's Bastard" immediately preceding it, (which I could not put down), it was difficult to give it as high a rating.Published 20 months ago by Rosalyn Lawton
Another good read with some new characters. He leaves you hanging at the end a bit. Maybe this will lead to another book. Read morePublished 22 months ago by stephen
Very good story. I enjoyed it a lot. I will read more by this writer. It was just about perfect.Published on December 19, 2012 by rachel p canan
If you have read Eddie's bastard then i would understand the desire to read this one. But it is disappointing, I'm sorry to say because one would expect the same flair as in the... Read morePublished on August 22, 2012 by mk
I can't really give a rating in stars, as I just started this book. (I read his previous novel and liked it pretty well. Read morePublished on June 29, 2010 by small and growly bear