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IN BRIEF

Fiction

August 04, 1996|ERIKA TAYLOR

BEAMING SONNY HOME by Cathie Pelletier (Crown: $21, 279 pp.). Novels can be reminiscent of so many types of expression. Some read like movies, some like a verbal collage and some may feel as if a friend is telling stories over late-night drinks.

Cathie Pelletier's latest book, "Beaming Sonny Home," could easily be turned into a three-act play. The protagonist, Mattie, is a 68-year-old woman whose three bickering, love-starved daughters are united only in their disdain for their brother Sonny, who is clearly Mattie's favorite. One day, John Lennon appears to Sonny on his TV set with private instructions to ". . . make a little noise on behalf of the poor folks in this here world." Sonny complies. Instead of handing out fliers, he decides the best way to get his message across is by holing up in a trailer with three hostages--two women and a poodle.

"Beaming Sonny Home" takes place entirely in Mattie's house, far from the action, so that rather than being a novel about hostages, it is about the complicated dynamics of Mattie's sad, bitter family. In spite of some silly plot contrivances, Pelletier's writing is full of her usual blend of humor, warmth and offbeat characters.

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