NIAGARA FALLS ALL OVER AGAIN
Hey, Abbott, what’s more depressing than a lousy novel by a bad writer? I don’t know, Lou, how about an uninspired novel from a gifted writer? McCracken, whose 1996 The Giant’s House garnered deserved acclaim, devotes her second novel to the life and times of Mike (Mose) Sharp, straight man, wandering Iowan Jew, and half of the (fictional) comedy team of Carter and Sharp. The story’s a fascinating one in theory: As the laconic Sharp and his self-destructive fatman partner Rocky Carter traverse the 20th century, they take in vaudeville’s demise, film’s glory years, and the rise of TV — not to mention plumbing the mysteries of love (amatory, familial, and otherwise). How frustrating, then, that everything about Niagara Falls, from its title on down, feels forced and self-conscious, like a pair of baggy pants that are worn but never inhabited. Get, with regret, the hook.
Niagara Falls All Over Again