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Geoff Hoff

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Weeping Willow: Welcome to River Bend
by Geoff Hoff  Steve Mancini 

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ISBN-10:  1420800485 Type: 


Copyright:  Nov 2, 2003 ISBN-13:  9871420800487

A satirical soap opera about an accountant from Chicago who gets stranded in a strange small town and must reinvent his life.

Weeping Willow the Book

Imagine a staid accountant from Chicago with a beige life forced to live in the attic of a diner owned by a man with questionable hygiene who has a prom carnation (and possibly Walt Disney) in his freezer, then reluctantly falling in with the local theater group (at least one of whom would spell it "theatre") after his wife falls for another man and empties his bank account.

Follow Lee Harris, who desperately tries to make sense of a new life that seems perversely committed to thwarting his efforts. You'll also follow the "writers", Geoff (the man with the world's largest head) and Steve (who thinks Othello is a board game), who banter, argue and comment throughout the narrative.

Professional Reviews

Writer's Digest
Wild humorous look at contemporary America; scathing satire, hip references to just about everything under the sun, and a cavalier disregard for the conventions of traditional fiction characterize this almost unclassifiable 'novel,' if that is the term. The self-referential humor is a main component of the book. The authors break into the narrative with their own commentary, sometimes arguing with each other, sometimes berating each other. A uniquely funny book that defies almost everything–analysis, classification, categorization, the reader and this reviewer. A book almost impossible to review, and I think it's quite deliberately set up that way. Material taken from a former web site–with much of the peripheral matter left in. The authors are so talky and self-reflexive, disbelief comes crashing down on just about every page. But that's probably deliberate as well. Not for everybody, certainly, but a quirky, class-by-itself satirical novel with loads of hip humor for a with-it, young contemporary readership... I hope these guys keep plugging in Hollywood. They have a mini-series here, if only someone will take a close look.

John DeChancie

Echo Magazine
Writers Geoff Hoff and Steve Mancini have created a fourth wall in book publishing, just so they could break it. That means, they talk to you, and to each other, while you are reading their serialized novel, Weeping Willow Vol. 1: Welcome to River Bend.

"If that sounds like a wacky statement, it's a fair representation of the gonzo experience you'll get from reading this book. The art of the novel as a real audience participation event sort of thing. Weeping Willow originated online as a serial, offered in 15 installments over the course of two years. Those installments were then collected in book form.

"Lee Harris, the protagonist, is a 21st century Candide except that his (mis)adventures don't cover much territory, geographically. Upon discovering that his wife of eight years has a boyfriend on the side, Lee stuffs his car with all it can hold and takes off for parts unknown, landing in a town called River Bend.

"Lee needs to get drunk, so he rents a motel room near a bar and ties one on. Ironically (irony is practically a major character in the story) he gets arrested for being drunk, finding the local cops unsympathetic to the argument that "he had purposely not driven so he wouldn't have to drive drunk."

"Booked, fingerprinted and thrown into the hoosegow, Lee sleeps it off and emerges in need of ready cash and some mouthwash. But the ATM tells him his wife has cleaned out the bank account.

"Is this the Perils of Pauline or what? Lee takes a job at the local greasy spoon; it comes with an attic and a sleeping couch. And he gets involved in the local amateur theater company. And he gets involved with the lives of the locals. And his wife sends a detective looking for him.

"For those who keep score, one of the authors is gay and the story has a subplot involving a gay member of the theater troupe (what, only one?) and the detective. If you don't like to get your funny bone wrenched, wrap it up or read something else. And probably don't hold your breath waiting for volume two.

Ken Furtado

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