Monday, June 22, 2009

The Tennis Handsome (1983)

Barry Hannah is an author that I keep myself from reading because I love him so much that I will be sad when I've read everything he has written. His slender but powerful novel The Tennis Handsome (1983) is just as awesomely wonderful and great as I hoped it would be.

The Tennis Handsome tells the story of a professional tennis player from Vicksburg named French Edwards who is not very smart (unless electrocuted), but (as you might have guessed) exceedingly handsome. Edwards is managed by Baby Levaster who is not very handsome but full of personality, sin, and quite often, liquor. As a young man Edwards is coached by Dr. Word, a staunch homosexual who changes teams when he meets his protogee's mother, Olive, and who changes everything after French catches the two of them in bed together. From that point on French wants to kill Word, Word wants to sleep with Olive, Baby also wants to sleep with Olive, Word wants Baby dead, and all kinds of other things shoot out at the reader, including the other main character of the novel, a Vietnam vet who mostly wants to have an affair with his aunt, but also wants to do a lot of reading.

Whew.

This is the kind of book that rushes straight at you. Hannah is funny, insightful, and disturbing, and he has a lot of fun with the words that make up his intoxicating sentences.

Luckily once I finish everything he has written, I will have no problem reading them all again...

1 comment:

Corie said...

Sounds like a great book! I think I'm going to buy a copy for me, and then I can let Robert have it for seven years or so.