LOOKING FOR TENNESSEE WILLIAMS by George Sanchez encapsulates the magic of New Orleans– most specifically its sensual, shadowy underbelly. This is a story for readers interested in a town so colorfully complicated, it’s long been known for rows of atmospheric houses nicknamed ‘Painted Ladies’ along with an abundance of voodoo practitioners. This is a book for those who like tales of attraction, debasement, and sexual adventure not confined to the bedroom (nor to the kinds of erotic activities considered ‘vanilla’). The story immerses readers in steamy, somewhat melancholy tales of the night; of loving and losing, most especially whatever innocence these characters may have left as the novel begins. Opening on the cast arriving for a production of Tennessee Williams’s Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, readers are introduced to Bernie, the play’s director and cast chaperone and will go on to become acquainted with actors including willowy, luminous Jill Moreau, along with the backstage crew. But first, as the new arrivals stand in awe before Le Petit Theatre du Ame — home of the Tennessee Williams Theatre Festival — the young performers breathe in a glimpse of St. Peter Street which travels towards the river and towards rusting railroad tracks where darker scenes will unfold — scenes the newcomers know nothing of, yet.
In terms of plot and characterization, numerous jumps in point of view from one character to another occur too often. This does not allow readers to effectively sink into any one perspective for an adequate length of time before the story jarringly leaps away. Additionally, what each character is thinking and feeling is often ‘told’/stated, rather than being more subtly, effectively ‘shown.’ In terms of formatting, the issues are many. An endless series of asterisks frequently appear, running clear across the page to separate even the smallest of sections. This quickly becomes an annoyance to the eye. Overusing this symbol, along with utilizing three hyphens rather than traditional quotation marks for dialog, plus various different text fonts, sizes, and placing divider lines across the bottom of each page all serve to make the layout of this novel far too busy, distracting from the actual story being relayed.
Chastity–along with souls–are bought, bartered, brandished, stolen, and sold in George Sanchez’s potentially brilliant but uneven literary novel LOOKING FOR TENNESSEE WILLIAMS.
~C.S. Holmes for IndieReader