Vanessa V. Friedman
September 27, 1996 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Carolina Moon

Current Status
In Season
Jill Mccorkle

We gave it a B

The latest submission from Jill McCorkle, the prolific member of the Anne Tyler-small- town-epiphany school of novelists, resembles nothing so much as a literary version of the children’s hand game ”Here is the church, here is the steeple; open the doors, see all the people.” In Carolina Moon, the church is actually a village in North Carolina, and all the people are its inhabitants: Wallace Johnson, the postman; Tom Lowe, a builder who lives in a trailer with a pack of dogs; Quee Purdy, the eccentric doyenne of a stop-smoking clinic; Quee’s just-divorced niece, Denny; the downtrodden Alicia, wife of the town’s politically incorrect DJ; and assorted other near stereotypes. The characters appear, and events occur (Denny and Tom begin to flirt; a body is found), but they seem to mature and build less than simply wiggle around like a group of fingers. In the end, everything is resolved as neatly as two interlaced hands. B

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