Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2016-09-21
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


  WINDY CITY TIMES

Casco
BOOK REVIEW Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Malic White
2012-11-20

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


On the idyllic coast of Casco, Maine, where there is always clam chowder and huckleberry pie, murder strikes.

Chicago author E.R. Beecher's novella Casco weaves suspense into a coming-of-age story about rebuilding family and holding onto painful memories until new discoveries yield justice.

Casco opens with the brutal murder of a gay man in the 1960s. In this lurid appropriation of the Matthew Shepard story, two homophobic bullies beat their victim and string him up in a clock tower to "show him what happens to faggots."

Then Beecher backtracks to 1959, when Casco's narrator, the then-9-year-old Gordon, travels to the book's namesake town in Maine to spend the summer with his new stepbrother and grandmother. Casco takes a surprisingly cheerful turn as Gordon recounts the everyday happenings of that first summer on the coast and every summer thereafter—sailing lessons, apple pie, long evenings on the porch and treasure hunts.

Despite the dead-end vignettes that have little to do with the overarching narrative, this section provides satisfying escapism into the carefree days of childhood. Gordon develops an endearing relationship with his grandmother, who takes him out to "old lady" restaurants and parties, and palls around with his grandmother's lifelong maid, who fills Gordon's head with stories and his belly with pie. But on this pleasant romp through Gordon's summer memories, the murder from the book's prologue remains firmly planted in the reader's mind.

As Gordon grows up, he models himself after his older stepbrother, Richard, a charming, teenage sailing instructor. Gordon hones his own sailing skills and even goes to Richard's barber shop for a matching haircut. But when Gordon discovers his stepbrother in bed with another man, the plot takes the dark turn the reader has been waiting for. Gordon easily accepts his stepbrother's same-sex leanings, but when he finds the body of the gay man murder in the prologue, he worries that Richard might be next.

While most coming-of-age stories feature the inner struggles of adolescence, Casco hardly contains any internal dialogue. Beecher rarely ventures out of his straightforward prose to provide description of the landscape or characters, washing out characters who have potential to be memorable.

In Part II, Gordon returns to Maine as an adult long after his grandmother and stepbrother have died and discovers Richard's diary from his adolescent years. The diary entries that compose the second half of the novella could have provided the emotional insight that Casco sorely lacks, but Part II merely rehashes the previous section, sometimes word for word.

Richard's diary entries are written clumsily in third-person, drawing an uncertain line between Richard's own words and Gordon's interpretation.

Armed with a few additional details from Richard's diaries, the adult Gordon tries to solve the murder that haunted his childhood. His sleuthing uncovers details that shed new light on another death, and Gordon finds himself seeking closure all over again.

Part III revives the suspenseful pace from the prologue, although the final scene ties the narrative's loose ends a little too neatly. Casco is less a thriller than it is an unwieldy, though heartfelt, meditation on growing up, uncovering family secrets and deciding which mysteries are better left untouched.


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Tim Murphy, author of Christodora, at City Lit Sept. 29 2016-09-23
Remembering Edward Albee 2016-09-21
BOOK REVIEW In the Darkroom 2016-09-21
Literary event at Volumes features McConnell, Gresham 2016-09-20
Book focuses on Robert Kennedy's liberal evolution 2016-09-20
Author's book focuses on her gender nonconforming child 2016-09-20
BOOK REVIEW My Son Wears Heels 2016-09-14
BOOK REVIEW A Murder Over a Girl 2016-09-13
Book reveals LGBT activism in Germany 2016-09-07
BOOK REVIEW The Joy of Swimming 2016-09-07
BOOK REVIEW Fair Play 2016-09-06
Lambda Literary announces scholarships 2016-09-05
Amazon store coming to Chicago, independent booksellers respond 2016-08-31
Local activist chronicles history of marriage equality in new book 2016-08-30
PASSAGES Writer Michelle Cliff dies 2016-08-23
THEATER REVIEW The Anton Chekhov Book Club Returns 2016-08-10
Coming up: Disco legend Clifford, LGBT Milwaukee, Numbers Nerds, Musically Human Theatre 2016-08-10
Writers' museum to open in Chicago 2016-08-10
BOOKS Mark Zubro's long career is no mystery 2016-08-10
Chicago man pens memoir about Tennessee Williams 2016-08-10
New book looks at German LGBT life during 1880-1945 2016-08-09
Time left for some good summer reads 2016-08-09
BOOKS Jay Parini discusses book about Gore Vidal 2016-08-03
NUNN ON ONE: THEATER Daxton Bloomquist on being in 'The Book of Mormon' 2016-08-02
Lambda Legal event focuses on book about marriage equality 2016-07-31
Upcoming book and music events 2016-07-27
BOOK REVIEW Outsiders: American Photography and Film 1950s-1980s 2016-07-26
PROFILE Rita Adair talks activism, upcoming book, social work 2016-07-20
BOOK REVIEW Stand by Me: The Forgotten History of Gay Liberation 2016-07-19
Rita Adair on her activism, upcoming book, social work career 2016-07-17
LGBT Milwaukee traces history of local pride, supports education 2016-07-15
BOOKS Bisexual author talks about 'Road' to self-discovery 2016-07-06
THEATER REVIEW The Book of Mormon 2016-07-06
Blessed Body book looks at Nigerian life 2016-06-29
BOOK REVIEW Being Jazz 2016-06-28
BOOKS Psychologist writes about 'gender creative' children 2016-06-22
BOOK REVIEW Ask a Queer Chick: A Guide to Sex, Love and Life for Girls Who Dig Girls 2016-06-22
BOOK REVIEW The Right Side of History 2016-06-15
Lammy winners announced 2016-06-14
BOOK REVIEW All the Rage: A Quest by Martin Moran $24.95; Beacon Press; 232 pages 2016-06-07
 



Copyright © 2016 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.

www.windycitymediagroup.com
[email protected]  •  [email protected]  •  [email protected]

Website Powered by LoveYourWebsite.com