professornana (professornana) wrote,

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Damn you, Crucher!

I am of two minds when I pick up the latest offering by Chris Crutcher. Part of me wants to race through it, eager to have it all in one fell swoop. The other part of me, thankfully, takes over, and makes me read it a tad more slowly, savoring the taste, enjoying the ride (you pick the metaphor). So, when DEADLINE arrived in the mail yesterday, I picked it up and read the first 50 pages or so just to get the taste buds nice and juicy. (Truth be told, I was reading it while sitting in the chairs at our spring graduation in my regalia; they make us go but nothing says I cannot while away time during the commencement speeches reading; actually, several people asked what I was reading during the ceremony and seemed anxious for me to finish so they could borrow the book). I picked up the book again this morning and, with breaks to switch out loads of laundry, pack for IRA in Toronto, and meal preparations, worked my way slowly but steadily toward the last few chapters. Now, tears all dried, it seems prudent to put some words on paper knowing they will never measure up to Crutch's own.

I knew in advance the subject of the novel. A quick glance at the cover (which I need to scan since it is not available online) will alert anyone to the fact that the main character, one Ben Wolf, is given about a year to live after a routine physical turns up a blood disease. Ben decides not to tell anyone of the diagnosis. Instead, he intends to make the most of the time he has left. With help from some unlikely sources, including someone named Hey-soos and the town drunk Rudy, Ben discovers much about himself and his classmates, family, and the lovely and wonderful Dallas Suzuki.

After more than a quarter century in the business, Crutcher still manages to surprise this jaded reader. DEADLINE is absorbing, moving, hysterically funny, and food for thought and debate. In other words, all we have come to expect from Crutcher. He pulls no punches; neither do his characters. One thing you can count on here: the truth will be told, at least the truth as all concerned see it. What is THE truth? That, of course, is up to the reader.

And here is the cover. One of my students told me it was on his website (duh, Teri!).


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