Picks and Pans Review: The Bonner Boys

updated 04/27/1981 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/27/1981 01:00AM

by Campbell Geeslin

Five brothers from West Texas, with the improbable names of Keel, Field, Horner, Banyan and Flannel (the author culled the names from a guide to wild flowers), get together for the first time in years. They range from a womanizing wheeler-dealer who struck it rich on a tropical island to a small-town newspaper editor and a fatcat Houston lawyer with a social-climbing wife. Family secrets are revealed at the reunion, and two of the brothers have a drunken fight. This is less a novel than a series of vividly written vignettes. The characterizations ring true. The set scenes are often hilarious. The author, one of five West Texas brothers with funny family names, insists he "stretched every truth until none of the people or places bears any resemblance to the real thing." In any case, Geeslin, text editor of LIFE and a former PEOPLE editor, has made a striking debut at 55 as a writer of fiction. (Simon and Schuster, $11.95)

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