Social Blunders

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Author: Tim Sandlin

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Some consider it a social blunder to use the wrong fork, but Sam Callahan, the narrator of this ribald and tangled yarn, would never make such a mundane faux pas. For Sam, every goof is a doozy and his missteps are at least as comic and bawdy as they are tragic. 

Sandlin provides his bumbling hero with an appropriately quirky past: it's 1984, Sam is 33 and his second wife has just left him. He lives in North Carolina with his 19-year-old daughter, born to him and an eighth-grade classmate. (The earlier parts of Sam's life were chronicled in Skipped Parts and Sorrow Floats.) Sam never knew his birth father's identity: his mother claims to have been gang-raped by five high-school football players, which has left Sam with an abhorrence of men and of conventional sex as well. The impending divorce puts Sam in a mind to get his life together, so he spontaneously introduces himself to four out of five of his possible dads (and big oops to the unsuspecting widow of the fifth). He fails to consider the repercussions this will have in the men's families; he's attacked by two of his possible half-brothers, seduced by his could-be stepmother and charmed by his potential half-sister. To say that Sam brings on his own calamities would be an understatement, yet his absurd logic in matters of romance, lust and paternity is oddly endearing. 

The characters in this third installment of Sandlin's GroVont Trilogy don't spend much time in GroVont, Wyo. In fact, Sam doesn't escape west until after the climax of his tawdry tale. Still, Sam would be a literal riot in any state, and, as rendered by Sandlin, his voice is an effective blend of flippancy and compassion.

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