The title hints at trouble with alcohol, and trouble there is. In fact, the story begins with 20-ish Cufe Smallhill, an Oklahoma Seminole-Cree, dragging the corpse of his father, who has committed suicide, to a pond for a quick and private underwater burial as the man requested. It's quite an image. (Later, with the help of his cousin, he puts watermelons in a coffin to weigh it down and conceal his actions from the friends who gather for the funeral.)
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The rather pompously titled Color of a Brisk and Leaping Day tells the story of John Lee, the grandson of a Chinese Immigrant who worked on the transcontinental railroad in the 1860s. For some reason, John becomes obsessed with the local, short-line Yosemite Valley Railroad, which is near closure due to abandonment. He manages to buy the railroad and tries (with the aid of minor characters played by Michael Stipe, who would probably have been more helpful playing a rock star instead of a traffic manager, and Henry Gibson). There's a romance, and there's hardship as John runs the railroad... runs it back into the ground, I should say.
Continue reading: Color Of A Brisk And Leaping Day Review