Glover, Daniel 1949-
GLOVER, Daniel 1949-
PERSONAL: Born 1949.
ADDRESSES: Home—Phoenix, AZ (winter), and Quarter Pine Farm, AL (summer). Agent—Black Belt Press/NewSouth Books, P.O. Box 1588, Montgomery, AL 36102-1588.
SIDELIGHTS: Author Daniel Glover, a third-generation Alabamian, offers an examination of gay life in the American south with his debut novel, Down from the Dog Star. The book is structured as a series of humorous letters from Jackie Luden, a former addict and gay man living in small-town Alabama, to a variety of friends and acquaintances from Narcotics Anonymous. From his old family home in Ludens Bend, Alabama, Jackie dispenses his epistles and observations on the oddball characters and events of his hometown. As Jackie grows older, he becomes more willing to reveal local eccentricities and personal secrets. In between the lines of the fanciful, offbeat, and often outlandish letters, Luden also provides a glimpse of the travails of being gay in the rural towns of the deep south.
Luden lives with his doting mother, Minnie, and Helen, a black freedom fighter who has been disguised as the family maid her whole life. Jackie's friend Junior Wulmothe, obese and gay, is an in-and-out resident of the local psychiatric hospital who believes that sinister miniature goats prowl the mineshafts in the hills around the town. Junior's sister Neva Jean schemes to take Junior's inheritance, and bumbling sheriff Beebus McCloud courts Neva Jean while excusing any of Jackie's misbehavior because of old southern loyalty to Minnie—and possibly because of an still-burning flame for his ex-lover, Jackie. Meanwhile, in town, the Sisters of the Eternal Life Cafe and Souvenir Shop for Jesus continue to expand their business, and the local health clinic offers a menu of services that includes eye care, gynecology, and assisted suicide.
In his first letter, Luden describes how his beloved dog, Honey, was poisoned, and how he extracted revenge against the vile kid who did it by pushing him into a flaming, smoking sinkhole reminiscent of a pit of Hell. It soon becomes apparent that Jackie's letters may or may not be entirely accurate reflections of reality, but at least a nugget of truth lies behind all his observations. A murder has occurred, and when Sheriff Beebus can no longer put his loyalty to Minnie Luden over his duty, he looks to Jackie for some answers. In response, Jackie flees to a tribal mission in the Amazon where he dispatches more letters about the local cannibals and visiting aliens.
"Loopy, over-the-top humor keeps the pages turning in this oddly horrific, hilarious book," commented Booklist reviewer Whitney Scott. "Though overly long and often tedious," Down from the Dog Star "occasionally offers up a bone-ticklingly funny morsel of smalltown Alabama life," observed a Publishers Weekly reviewer.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, October 15, 1999, Whitney Scott, review of Down from the Dog Star, p. 418.
Publishers Weekly, September 6, 1999, review of Down from the Dog Star, p. 83.