L.B.: Rule No. 4

Left Behind, pp. 89-96 The good news: Buck Williams is finally out of the men's room stall. The bad news: He spends the next five pages in a phone booth. Thanks to Long Story, Short Pier, I came across Kurt Vonnegut's "Eight rules for writing fiction." It's a good list, the value of which becomes [Read More…]

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L.B.: Reciprocity

Left Behind, pp. 87-89 The last we saw of Hattie Durham she had just left Rayford's steely lap after their helicopter ride home to the Chicago suburbs. Hattie is the Pan Continental flight attendant who has been strung along by the older, married Rayford Steele. The book begins with a description of their non-affair affair: [Read More…]

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L.B.: Not a conspiracy theory

Left Behind, pp. 80-87 Investigative reporter Buck Williams, we learn here, was headed to London to meet with his old college friend Dirk Burton. (For those keeping score at home, our list of male porn names thus far: Buck, Steele, Plank, Dirk.) Dirk is "a former Princeton classmate" of Buck's, "a Welshman who had been [Read More…]

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L.B.: Buck & Jules

Left Behind, pp. 77-80 Buck Williams was on his way to London when the mass disappearances occurred and his flight returned to Chicago. He had gone to Chicago to "mend fences" with one of his "Global Weekly" colleagues: "… [the]bureau chief there, a fiftyish black woman named Lucinda Washington." We meet Lucinda in a flashback [Read More…]

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L.B.: 10 pages in the men’s room

Left Behind, pg. 77 Here's how Chapter 5 begins: Buck Williams ducked into a stall in the Pan-Con Club men's room to double-check his inventory. Tucked in a special pouch inside his jeans … As a general rule, it's probably best not to begin a chapter by having the protagonist enter the stall of a [Read More…]

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L.B.: Ars poetica

Left Behind, pp. 66-68, 73-76 This is the most human-seeming and almost successful passage in the book so far. Jenkins, for once, eases off the expository gas and lets the reader look around as Rayford Steele explores the home he dreads he will find empty. The result is a little set piece where, for the [Read More…]

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L.B.: Nero’s fiddle

Left Behind, pp. 71-73 Two things happen over these few page of the book. The surface-level thing is that Buck Williams talks to a customer service agent in the airline club and she helps him to charter a private flight to New York City. Suddenly it was Buck's turn at the counter. He gathered up [Read More…]

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Left Behind Fridays

So where were we? Page 71? We've been at this for a year and half and we're only on page 71? I'm going to try to keep our ongoing book review from devolving into another weekslong lapse by imposing a more orderly schedule.* Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the first installment of Left Behind Fridays. [Read More…]

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