Erica K. Cardozo
May 03, 1996 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Bill Morrissey, a folk balladeer known for his dry, droll lyrics about subjects like dying New England mill towns, sings a familiar tune in Edson, his first novel. Recently divorced, and disillusioned with the music biz, onetime troubadour Henry Corvine, 37, returns to Edson, N.H., where he grew up. Edson hasn’t aged well; in fact, it’s on the verge of becoming a ghost town. But for Henry, it’s the perfect reflection of, and finally the cure for, his crisis of confidence. In Edson, he learns to hear the music again. Sound hokey? It is, sometimes. But it’s also touching in a homely way. As Morrissey plucks your heartstrings, the earth won’t move, but you’ll root for the characters even as you watch the ending coming from a mile away. B

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