Social Concerns / Themes

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

In Boomerang Hannah most often focuses on a turning point, outrageous exploit, or bizarre escapade from his past. Scarcely prefaced with any exposition, most of these events are linked only by Hannah's memory. Hannah focuses on ends and actions rather than means or motives. His prose is lean, sparse, colloquial, and sometimes exasperatingly terse. Many of the episodes revolve around music, fishing, animals, or firearms. Most of them stand as parables of the confrontation of meanness and generosity, tolerance and intolerance, humanity and inhumanity.

One of Hannah's principal satirical targets is organized religion. His hatred of southern fundamentalism, Catholicism, and Moslem zealotry grows out of his conviction that organized religion thwarts and diminishes the individual. Although Hannah mentions that he "prays," his God is a pantheistic or at least non-sectarian deity; he dreads and fears the "Christers" for their hypocrisy, priggishness, and sanctimony.

More than even his previous novels, Boomerang focuses on men of action. Women appear almost exclusively as real or potential sexual partners. Not surprisingly, feminism is one of the modern phenomena Hannah distrusts most.

Hannah deals extensively with families in this novel. He speaks often of his three marriages, his own children, his wife's son, other families. With surprising frequency, these families suffer because of the random and violent death of a family...

(The entire section is 421 words.)