Saturday, June 21, 2008


The Waiting Room, Mary Morris, Doubleday, 1989, 273 pp

After reading Mary Morris's travel memoir Nothing to Declare, I wanted to read more of her work. This is her second novel, published the year after the memoir and the lyrical but reportorial style I liked in that book did not enchant me in her novel.

Zoe Coleman returns to her Wisconsin hometown because her younger brother Badger has come back from Canada, where he had gone to escape the draft, and is now a drug casualty in a facility for various types of rehab patients. I think it would have been a pretty good and relevant book in the 80s. The quirky characters in Zoe's back story and the troubles with her mother make this a sort of Lisa Alther meets early Anne Tyler novel.

Morris does too much telling without showing and the deadpan delivery is at odds with the emotionally charged story. It did not make me want to read it but I made it through.

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