Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Lydia by Tim Sandlin

How to explain this book, Tim Sandlin's latest novel in his GroVont series.  There's Sam, living his life in Wyoming running a home for unwed mothers with his second wife.  His first wife Maurey lives right down the road where she runs a horse farm.  His daughter, Shannon has lived her life moving from man to man and now wants more and has returned to Wyoming to search for her life's meaning.  Roger is the organization's handyman; he was raised by Maurey and her husband after a friend showed up and left him there as a young boy of five.  Roger didn't talk for two years and still doesn't know his history.  There is Oly, the oldest man in town, about to turn one hundred.  Then there is Lydia.  Lydia is Sam's mother but you wouldn't really call her a maternal figure.  She is a force of nature, a woman who doesn't care what you think of her as long as you do what she wants and don't ignore her.  Lydia has just returned to town after a ten year stint in federal prison.  The government doesn't take kindly to women who send poisoned chew toys to the President's dog.

All these lives tangle together and lead towards a fateful journey.  Lydia believes she knows the truth about Roger's past and talks him into driving her to California to look for what happened to him so many years ago.  Since her parole involves her getting the oral history of Oly's life, she brings him along.  In California they will encounter Leroy, a felon who kidnapped Roger back when he was five to hurt his mother, and who is now on the loose and wants nothing more than to finish the job by killing him.

Sandlin writes a rollicking tale, full of coincidences that somehow work.  The tale swoops and soars, twisting back on itself periodically to drop another piece into the puzzle of how these lives are intertwined.  Sandlin's writing is rambling and in the genre of Tom Robbins or T.R. Pearson; reminiscent of an Americanized Salman Rushdie, a gushing torrent of words that is unstoppable in its force and that entertains as it sweeps the reader along.  This book is recommended for readers interested in an entertaining story that shows the importance of being true to those we love. 

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