Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $4.95 shipping
Dingley Falls Paperback – Bargain Price, April 1, 2010
|New from||Used from|
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
One mature novel and one early one-that's what we have here in these lovely novels by Michael Malone. I came to Malone through the back door. I picked up two of his novels -Handling Sin and Uncivil Seasons-- in a used book store. I thought "What have I got to lose?" Then I let them sit for over a year. One night, on a whim, I started reading Handling Sin. Once inside Malone's comic world, bursting with life, joy and intelligence, I was utterly hooked. A month ago, I ordered five more of his novels from Amazon.com. The first two I've read are Dingley Falls and The Delectable Mountains.
Dingley Falls (1980) is a beautiful novel, which is at once comic and tragic. When you enter Dingley Falls, you are in a self-contained universe. It's not Pollyanesque, not at all, for dark and tragic things happen there. There's a rape and a killing. Several people die earlier than they should have because a secret government base nearby is experimenting with no controls on biowarfare and deadly pathogens are released from time to time into the neighboring community.
Among the wonders of this book is the ease with which Malone spins off an amazing number of real comic grotesques. There is also his abundant love for all his characters, even those who are flawed, even those who are evil. (One of the characters in this book is a repulsive neo-Nazi rapist.) His characters are flawed but they are flawed in human ways: you can love (most of) them once you get past their tics. This book is so life affirming! Bad things happen in it -really bad things occasionally--but they're part of Life's Mixed Bag, the bad coming with an awful lot of good. Malone stated in an interview that he felt that with Dingley Falls he had finally hit his stride. I believe him. I love this book!
Entertaining Strangers is Malone's second novel, published in 1976. It is nowhere near as accomplished as Dingley Falls (1980) but is a diverting read nonetheless. It shows Malone's considerable promise as a writer, in particular his skill in juggling a large cast of characters and in depicting humorous grotesques. (There is a crazed, pot-ridden and drunk activist named Spurgeon Debson who outdoes even Hunter S. Thompson, something I never thought I'd say about anyone real or fictitious.)
Strangers is narrated in the first person by Devin Donahue, who is just out of college and lacking direction or purpose. It is 1968, a time when many things were screwed up and a lot more people than just Devin were seriously confused. (The narrative starts: "Like the country, I was really fouled up when summer started in 1968.") Devin's older brother has just become engaged to the love of Devin's life. Devin can't handle it. He cops out, heads to Colorado, to serve as set designer for a terminally disorganized summer theater run by his high school flame, Leila, and her not at all talented husband Mittie. The reader's hopes for disaster are soon abundantly fulfilled in this funny but essentially trivial novel. By the end of the novel, Devin has found a direction, however tentative, for his life. The novel closes on the up beat, a little too tidily but still satisfying.
With the great American comic novelist Stanley Elkin dead, I am glad we still have Michael Malone around.