Charles and Garth are downing drinks at the Black Dog Inn, but, in a dramatic technique reminiscent of the classic film My Dinner with Andre, their dialogue transports us far beyond those walls through the adventures of rogues and rapscallions in such far-flung locales as Baltimore, New York, Key West, and ultimately Cambridge, Massachusetts. Along the way we meet characters mythic and mysterious, all seeking something and few finding it. Chief among them is the Hitchhiker, alias William Cutshall, a drifter-qua-philosopher whom Charles picks up in Massachusetts and whose tale he spins for Garth. Cutshall is searching for his son, long ago given up for adoption, and in his account of that search we meet his wife, Carol, a self-proclaimed earth mother who abandons both husband and child to become the weirdly pantheistic "Our Lady of the Stones." There's also Marty, the liar, cheat, and thief who "knew the demon"; Julio and Xavier, two unflappable and highly suspect "outrageous works of art"; the barmaid Connie, a "cosmic gossip, out to save the world from its incorrect display of emotions"; and a cavalcade of drug dealers, gamblers, believers, and nonbelievers. The Hitchhiker's own loss makes him see loss everywhere. Like other sojourners, he is engaged in the quintessential quest - for the lost son, for a sense of permanence, for meaning in an inchoate social structure. Connolly's version of the persistence and perversity we muster for that ongoing battle makes for occasionally disquieting, constantly entertaining, and frequently riotous reading.
Publisher: University Press of New England