Book Review: 'The Member-Guest'
Welcome to what may be the nation’s least-exclusive country club, a little nine-hole operation somewhere deep in the American outback. Urged by a member’s complaint of a foul odor, the golf pro’s burying a dead dog he ran over near the entrance a few days ago. The snack-bar operator’s slipping off to a back room for a clandestine affair with Ed Betzger, the electrician who services the club’s air-conditioning unit. Meanwhile, her husband Stan’s getting revenge by stealing golf carts at night. Furious that the board of directors won’t let women play in the annual member-guest tournament, Shirley Davies has poured concrete into all the holes. Worse yet, in the hope of drumming up business for his real estate agency, Shirley’s husband, Lyle, volunteered to host the traditional club clambake. But the cut-rate clams he ordered arrived a day early and don’t smell too fresh. Food poisoning’s a real possibility. Witty, evocative, and oddly moving, author McCown’s tone-perfect collection of 10 interlocking short stories evokes a miniature world and populates it with a cast of heartbreaking fools. A-