Posts Tagged ‘comedy of errors’

Man Martin’s Paradise Dogs  shouts “retro’’ with its neon title riding in the sky above an aqua car, roadside diner and pink (!) alligator. Indeed, we’re boarding the wayback machine to Central Florida in the 1960s B.D. (Before Disney).

“Interstate 4 had come through,’’ Martin writes early in the book, “but the region still fairly trembled in anticipation of the next big thing, the thing that would lift it from being a largely rural cracker town into  something like modern glory as had happened in Palm Springs and Miami.’’

Adam Newman, 47, is a homely real estate agent/dreamer with lots of charm, great expectations, and a talent for reinventing himself at any given moment. As he gases up his car at the Sinclair on Eola, he ponders his sort-of plan to win back his ex-wife Evelyn, with whom he once ran a restaurant serving only hot dogs. A pocketful of loose diamonds should help his cause, but what of his clingy young fiancé, Lily?

To say complications ensue as Adam tries to return to the Eden of yesteryear proves to be an understatement. Martin’s allegorically-named characters get up to all sorts of mischief, and the resulting comedy of errors borders on high farce and tomfoolery.  A major plot point, which includes mysterious land purchases, will come as no surprise to Central Floridians, but Martin – who grew up in Florida and now lives in Georgia – has a deft hand with local color and shows true affection for his goofy hero.

Paradise Dogs may not be what old-timers call an “E-ticket,’’ yet it’s still an agreeable ride back to an orange-blossom-scented past not yet paved with theme parks.  Easy “A.’’

Open Book: Paradise Dogs by Man Martin (St. Martin’s Press) is a SIBA summer “Okra” pick from Southern booksellers. I bought the e-book edition for my nook, although I wish I had a larger picture of the cool cover.

Date Book: Man Martin will be signing copies of Paradise Dogs at 7 p.m. Wednesday July 6 at the Orlando Barnes & Noble on E. Colonial Drive. Maybe I’ll see you there.

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