And the Beats Go On

Review by Rea Keech

It’s sad, but I picked up the hardback version of this book from a stack of them in the Dollar Store. No need to write a review. There are plenty. I read it for the endless inventive “beats” in the dialogue: “Bea chewed thoughtfully on a green bean,” “Vera fixed a hard gaze on her food,” “The question Again? bounced against the inside of her mouth, but she did not let it out,” “Her blood sang in her veins,” “The smell of pines lit up the night air,” “A little flare of annoyance tickled her chest,” and on and on.
Characters pick or tug at threads or watchbands or gloves. They often “lean in” to speak—and in at least one instance “lean out.” Eyes, lips, smiles, looks are frequently either “tight/tightened” or “loose/loosened.” The same items can be either “narrowed” or “widened.” Looks can be “shot,” “fixed,” “allowed,” “given,” or “plastered on.”
In short, this novel is a masterpiece of creatively modifying common expressions and inventing new biological manifestations of common feelings. As a textbook for MFA students, it would rate 5 stars.