[In The Sweet Second Summer of Kitty Malone, Matt Cohen] examines the Frank and Malone families, introduced in earlier stories where they appeared sporadically as misfits, drunks, idlers and fighters. They are still drunks and fighters, but because their powers are dwindling and because they haltingly, painfully question why they are misfits in their own home, they gradually gain in depth and dignity. This is a novel about middle age: it presents the loss of innocence of a man of forty-nine.
Cohen is a good storyteller and particularly deft at portraying character. He makes his plain narration and dialogue rich by interweaving flashbacks, shifts in perspective, imagery and dreams. In a brief...
(The entire section is 499 words.)