Troy Patterson
April 26, 2002 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Dogs Bark, But the Caravan Rolls On: Observations From Then and Now

Current Status
In Season
Frank Conroy

We gave it a B+

The writer, a novelist and author of the classic memoir Stop-Time, is also a jazz musician and, in the best of these ”observations,” it shows. Conroy combines improvisational oomph with meticulous control when writing about Wynton Marsalis, the hearts of young men, and his own history at the pool table. In the flawless ”Hip Vaudeville,” he shadows the Rolling Stones on the eve of their 1975 tour, describing Mick Jagger’s stage persona as a tease choreographed to make men, women, and children ”want to sink their teeth into pert, outrageous little Mick the way they’d go at a piece of honey-fried chicken.” And even when his essays are insubstantial (the short-short memory pieces, the 10-page biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald), the music of his thoughts rings clear. B+

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