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Summary

Summary

Senator Kip Davies is dead, shot execution-style by a man news reports call a member of "an ultra-right-wing militia" from Maine. The hunt for the killer is nationwide, and yet the wounded assassin, Robert Drummond, has found refuge where he might least expect it-in the home of an out-of-town senator. There, the senator's wife and daughter become Drummond's protectors-if not his hostages-while he grows stronger during the next several heart-pulsing weeks. As they become intimately involved with Drummond, the two women learn firsthand the philosophy and psychology of the militia movement that has become such a terrifying puzzlement in America. And when their desperate drama ends, in a fashion at once unpredictable and inevitable, it brings with it a measure of understanding of how this country functions and dysfunctions.


Author Notes

A high school dropout at age 16, Carolyn Chute has been described as a shy, genial woman with idiosyncratic political views. Almost immediately after dropping out of school, Chute married and had a daughter. After the marriage ended in divorce, Chute held a variety of low-paying jobs, including driving a school bus, working on a potato farm, and plucking chickens to support herself and her child.

In 1978, Chute completed high school and began taking classes at the University of Maine. While attending college, Chute started writing stories, and eventually had her work published in area magazines. Chute's first novel, The Beans of Egypt, Maine, published in 1986, details what it was like growing up in a poverty-stricken town. The characters and setting of her successful first novel were continued in Letourneau's Used Auto Parts (1988) and Merry Men (1994).

A member of the 2nd Maine Militia, Chute is lobbying for several causes. Among the causes are limiting campaign contributions to $100 per citizen, extending the right of free speech and assembly to work-sites and shopping malls, banning lobbyists from the political process, and limiting the number of newspapers or magazines that can be owned by any single corporation to one.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Whereas Chute's past works (The Beans of Egypt, Maine, Letorneau's Used Auto Parts, and Merry Men) have garnered praise, this latest novel is unlikely to do so. It is the story of a militia man from rural Maine who is the lone escaping assassin of a senator. Badly wounded, he finds his way to another senator's home in Boston and is taken in by the daughter and wife. It seems they have fallen in love/lust with his animal masculinity. Besides, everyone seems to have wanted the first senator killed, but only the Snow Men militia had the guts to do it. Although the premise is rather far-fetched, some great discussion and conflict could have come through character interaction. But it doesn't --primarily because the characters are two-dimensional and stereotypical. The only one who comes across as remotely interesting is the flamboyant artist-mother (perhaps an autobiographical sketch?). Only Chute's devoted fans will pay much attention to this novel; she won't be winning over any new readers with it. --Denise Blank


Publisher's Weekly Review

Chute's (Merry Men) latest novel is so alarming in theme, farfetched in plot, graceless and sloppy in prose and close to pornographic in tone that it's difficult to consider it an effort by a serious writer. Robert "Ruff" Drummond, a construction worker from Maine and a member of a right-wing militia, assassinates a U.S. senator in Boston. (This is okay, we learn, because the senator is a sleaze and, moreover, a tool of the big corporations that run America and crush the poor.) Badly wounded, Robert makes it to the palatial home of his intended next victim, Senator Jerry Creighton (who is in Washington)Äand collapses. The caretakers who discover Robert are so sympathetic to the idea of the have-nots rising up to kill the oppressors that they enlist the cooperation of the senator's daughter Kristy, who decides to shelter and nurse Robert rather than turn him over to the authorities. Kristy, an ultra-feminist Radcliffe grad and professor of women's studies, is at home because she's having a nervous breakdown. As soon as she lays eyes on Robert, she is smitten, and after she views "the shaking of his loose penis" and takes his temperature by means of a rectal thermometer, she is a bundle of erotic nerve endings waiting to be fulfilled. When Robert regains consciousness, he is adorableÄin spite of his garish tattoos, which include a blue swastika. He chuckles, he tells jokes, he plays chess with Kristy and her mother, Connie, who is a similarly randy sort, and soon Robert is boffing both women. Reactions to this overheated tract may range from hilarity to disgust, as the narrative exudes outrage and resentment toward a government that ostensibly harasses people who own guns, refuses to legalize marijuana and exposes children to highfalutin theories of education. It is pulp fiction of the lowest order, manipulative and totally implausible. (Would Kristy and Connie spontaneously betray their "liberal" principles and protect Robert if he weren't such a hunk?) Chute's bombast hits high gear as her characters agree that because the government exploits poor people in menial jobs, the government must be swept away. In an author's note, Chute says that she's been working on a larger book for years, which will be "the true story" of the militia movement in the Northeast. One hopes it will have more sense and literary merit than this one. (May) FYI: Chute's publisher says that "she has been active in the militia movement for some time." (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Robert Drummond, a 44-year-old member of an ultra-right-wing Maine militia, puts a gun to the head of a U.S. senator and pulls the trigger. Drummond, shot by law enforcement officers at the scene, flees to the Beacon Hill mansion of another senator, Jerry Creighton. Discovered bleeding and near death by the oft-absent senator's beautiful young daughter, Kristy, and his feisty, attractive, free-thinking wife, Connie, Drummond is hidden in the daughter's top-floor quarters and nursed back to health by a local vet, the family's servants, and the Creighton women. Chute, herself actively involved in two militias and the author of the widely acclaimed and terrifically written The Beans of Egypt, Maine (LJ 3/1/85), would have the reader believe that these two privileged women willingly fall under the sexual thrall of a boorish, violent man whose bedroom behavior is as vulgar as his full-body tattoos. The novel deteriorates further when it is revealed that Drummond sought refuge on this particular estate in order to assassinate Senator Creighton as well, and still the women protect him and assist in his escape. Not recommended.‘Beth E. Andersen, Ann Arbor Dist. Lib., MI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Chapter One October afternoon. Barroom in Boston, Massachusetts. Bulletin comes on the TV. Senator Kip Davies is dead. He was shot execution style in the lobby of an old Boston hotel. The men responsible are an ultra-right-wing militia from Maine. Four of these men are dead, shot by Boston police. But the man who actually fired the shot into the back of the senator's head is still at large. Further details not available.     Everyone in the barroom cheers. "Get 'em all!" calls out one man. "Use a cannon!" He does not mean "get" the fleeing militiaman. He means Congress.     Another guy says, "Yuh, but execution style is kinda ..." He shivers. "Brrrr."     "Yeah. It'd be better if they just sneak up on 'em and do it humane," suggests another.     "I don't give a shit," snarls the first man, tapping his cigarette on the ashtray between himself and the guy on the next stool. "They can tar an' feather 'em. Boil 'em. Roast 'em. Don't matter. Long as they get the bastards."     "Watch out," another man cautions him. "I heard of a guy who was arrested and put away for saying that kinda thing. An' he was just a poor old retarded guy almost eighty years old."     "This is America. I speak my mind."     In barrooms and living rooms and dooryards and workplaces all over America, people discuss the senator's demise, followed by awkward discussions of the dangers of speaking one's mind.

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