Chuck Kinder has created a novel that defies any sort of classification. The story of Jim Stark and Ralph Crawford goes beyond the 'image struggle of the macho male writer'. It makes a struggle in the writers world accessible to anyone, and does so in ways that are funny and honest. Jim and Ralph are up and coming writers who are so swept up in the daily events of life that we hardly ever heard of the as writers. Rather, their complications reflect on the word we KNOW that they are working on. THe story is not the fiction they are writing, it's the experiences they are living. They struggle with the constraints that the writers life placed on them, even when it seemed like there were no restraints. Success is something to be suspicious over, and recognition is not the goal. In the words of the late, great, Ray Carver, 'These guys are having fun!'
This report prepared by Eric Spaulding
FSG, Jun 2001, 24.00, 358 pp.
The Summer of Love may be a few years ago, but talented and aspiring writers Ralph Crawford and Jim Stark refuse to let it go even if the Haight district is now a slum. They are more than just sidekicks; they are hedonistic hell raisers chasing wine, women and song. They metaphorically still wear flowers in their hair. Unwilling to pay the rent, a restaurant bill, or a drink, Ralph and Jim walk away from their tab.
However, underneath their indulgences, treachery exists. The married Ralph believes faithful is a word for civilians as he always cheats on Alice Ann. Ralph sends Jim to deliver a package to his mistress “Montana” Lindsay, only to have Jim betray him and marry her. Ralph accepts the change, but will he break faith by stealing back his beloved mistress?
HONEYMOONERS is more than a cautionary tale. It is a frantically humorous well-written look at the early 1970s West Coast literary world. The story line is very amusing and for anyone who read Crumb's comic books or the Kool Aid Acid Test it is doubly funny. Even those who do not know the Bay area scene will laugh (especially if they're children of the boomers). The key to the tale is that Chuck Kinder manages to make his characters real and in some weird way obtain the affection of the audience. This reviewer plans to find a copy of Mr. Kinder's other literary novels, SNAKEHUNTER and THE SILVER GHOST after nonstop laughter from this tale.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner