Malone, Michael. Dingley Falls. New York: Harcourt, Brace & Jovanovich, 1980.
I chose Dingley Falls in honor of National Author’s Day being in November. Nothing more random than that.
Even if you didn’t know anything about Michael Malone you would swear his novel, Dingley Falls, is supposed to be a script, or at least the backdrop, to a titillating, slightly scandalous soap opera. The town of Dingley Falls, fictitiously located somewhere in Connecticut, is teeming with odd characters with even more bizarre stories to tell. It is as if the entire community has digested some mild altering hallucinogenic that causes everyone to come unglued. To give a few examples, mild-mannered Mrs. Abernathy suddenly ends up under a tree in the pouring rain having wild sex with a poet she has just met; post mistress Mrs. Haig is forced to retire because of a bad heart. It’s not the job that is stressing her out, it’s a snapping, snarling dog who chases her home five nights a week; Headmaster Mr. Saar has trouble controlling his sexual appetite and will wind up handcuffed to a bed in a seedy motel in New York City, naked and dead, if he isn’t careful. Mrs. Ransom tries masturbation for the very first time only to have some stranger catch her in the act.
The list of characters goes on and on, so much so that Malone needed to list his crazy community individual by individual at the start of his book.
When you discover Michael Malone has years and year of experience as the senior writer for One Life to Live then Dingley Falls begins to make sense. The heightened drama, the outrageous characters, the never-ending bizarre situations in Dingley Falls suddenly become par for the course…just a little more graphic with the sex scenes and violence, the things you can’t show as vividly on daytime television.
Favorite lines: “The elderly shut-in bought a new car every year – each racier than the last – as if she thought she could outdrag death if she only had the horsepower” (p 94). “‘Did you know that until I drink this cup of coffee, anything you know is knowing too much?'” (p 145). “He drank in order to pose count; not like Walter Saar, to get in touch with who he was, but to stay out of touch with who he might have been” (p 157).
BookLust Twist: In Book Lust and More Book Lust. This is a popular book in Pearl’s world. First, from Book Lust in the chapter called, “Southern Fiction” (p 222). From More Book Lust in the chapter called, “Michael Malone: Too Good To Miss” (p 160).