|About the Book|
AboutRESTAURANTA Novel byStanford PritchardEverybodys gotta eat.But when too many people try to crowd into Dutchs Dockside, in Sun Town (that crazy, zany town in the spit of land at the tip of Scavenger Bay), funny things begin to happen. And never do funny things happen more than in the summer, at the height of tourist season.Sun Town is not an ordinary town. It is a place where writers and artists congregate, where gays and straights mix, where townies and washashores rub elbows, where fishermen meet beautiful women, where, seemingly, the entire world wants to be at the height of summer: for sun, for beaches, for talk, for parties and disco — for the sheer spectacle, the gay, mad exuberance of the place.One meets a lot of characters in Sun Town. There is Ed Shakey the piano player (the captive audience for all the inane remarks that have ever been made to piano players). There is Jody McGuire, who achieves his dream of fishing on a Sun Town dragger only to discover, when the boat is used for a drug run, that he is in over his head. There is Big Jim Kiernan, the Town Manager, who likes to run things with an iron fist (which occasionally extends just enough to dip into the parking meter fund). There is Tim Mullen, the ham radio enthusiast, and Joe Gallagher, the service station owner (Joes gasoline leaks into the towns water supply, and he redeems himself only during the Great Fire that almost destroys the town). There is Doug Brindle, a young writer who has come to town to write the Great American Novel but, lacking sufficient experience with which to do so, whiles away the summer in the restaurants Lifeboat Lounge. There is Dutch himself, nervous and fidgety, always convinced he is being taken advantage of. (Karen and Kathy, the Dockside hostesses, have learned to run the restaurant while letting Dutch think he is running the restaurant.) And there is the mysterious character, Tony Angelucci, who comes to town every so often in a fancy car, and seems to take a keen personal interest in everything that goes on.There are also Lamont Benedict, a.k.a. Vodka Man, and Grubby Eddy, and Flipper McDougal, and Manny Carrera, and Asher Dubonnet: the entire town moves through Dutchs Dockside, as the novel moves out into the town and back. The result is a fast-moving pageant of interrelated stories, signifying — what? Signifying life. For there is much life here, much humor and breadth of experience.But while the summer season ”” like the restaurant itself — is moving forward with the festive nonchalance of the Titanic, a mysterious concatenation of energies is accumulating that comes to its most explosive point on Labor Day, the busiest day of the season. The waitress Debbie Fensen, it turns out, can no longer take the pressure. Ed Shakeys wife is determined to have revenge for his unfaithfulness. Roy Oberholzer (the obnoxious waiter who likes to bully everyone) has finally driven Dave Lindholm, the chef, too far. And Tony Angelucci, always in the background, must have his due.And so, as with any good disaster novel, a monumental débacle takes place that almost blows the roof off the entire town.After the débacle — after all the characters, all the stories, all the sadness and melodrama, the humor and laughter — is the reader left feeling hungry? The writer believes the answer is no. For the book has been the meal.And the book is steak, not pizza.Stanford Pritchard earned a B.A. in philosophy from Haverford College, and on a Rockefeller Fellowship studied at the University of Chicago.