Hunk City by James Wilcox

Burma Van Buren is a sixty-something widow with lots of great intentions and luckily, the means to carry them out.  hunkHer recently departed husband left her a sweet multi-million dollar inheritance and a huge mansion. However, Burma is not your typical bereathed widow. She still works as assistant manager at the local chain discount store and ponders giving away her wealth to what she considers worthy causes. It seems, though, that too many other folks have designs on her money, including her accountant, who advises her to donate her late husband’s house to a questionable charity.

Enter the mysterious and handsome Dr. Schine, who Burma hires initially as landscaper to her inherited estate.  He quickly gains favor with Burma’s mother, a pint-sized eccentric who lives to meddle in Burma’s life.  Enter other characters, including Burma’s feckless would-be love interest Bobby Pickens, her lawyer Donna Lee Keely, out for whatever causes that thwart the stagnant local government, and the aloof Iman, who says little and is wilier than anyone can guess.

Will Burma find romance with Bobby?  Will she maintain her sanity?  And just what is Dr. Schine up to?  Read on and find out, in this comic Southern Lit tale of quirkiness and laughable, occasionally naughty charm.

The humor of Hunk City reminded me of other works of literature – A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole, Handling Sin by Michael Malone, and even Eudora Welty’s “Why I Live at the P.O.”, with maybe a little wackiness a la Tom Robbins thrown in for good measure.

(William Hicks, Information Services)

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