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Book Reviews

March, 1998

The Late Child
Larry McMurtry, The Late Child
Larry McMurtry (p/b, Phoenix, RRP)

This sequel to The Desert Rose stands by itself. Harmony Palmer is an ex-showgirl, mother of the five-year-old

Eddie, who in the opening pages discovers that her teenage daughter is no longer living in New York, but dead, from AIDS, leaving a lesbian lover behind.

Harmony's boyfriend leaves the devastated Harmony, unwilling to provide any help, after all, he was in the relationship to satisfy his needs. Her sisters, a religiously 'nice' homebody and a drug-taking sex-addict help her pack a trailer with all her possessions and they start off on a journey home. En route, they visit New York and the lesbian lover, swap the car for a bus and pick up a motley group of friends.

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Harmony's grief is complicated by the relationships around her, and Eddie's concern about how necessary he is to other's happiness. This is a road story in the traditional sense, with Harmony journeying only to discover, inevitably, that you can go home, but you can never go back. The Late Child is a reasonably insightful book about human nature and relationships. The author is a Pulitzer Prize winner and his book is as well written as you would expect.

This is not a rollicking adventure story, but rather a travelogue through contemporary American life. Not for the adrenaline junkies, but eminently readable.

Ali Kayn

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ISSN 1328-8008
Published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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