by Curt Holman
Carl Hiaasen is one of America's most reliably amusing and entertaining novelists. He specializes in broadly comic mystery-thrillers set in South Florida, and his book Strip Tease was made into that awful Demi Moore/Burt Reynolds movie, but don't hold the film against Hiaasen â the novel's extremely fun. A columnist for the Miami Herald, Hiaasen brings an anti-corporate sensibility to his books, that's like one part concerned environmentalist, two parts outraged muckraker.
In his latest book, The Downhill Lie: A Hacker's Return to a Ruinous Sport (Knopf, $22, 207 pp), Hiaasen offers a nonfiction change of pace. In his 50s, he takes up golf again after a 30 year absence from the game, and any expectations that he'll mellow out on the links are swiftly dashed:
âUnder the circumstances, though, my composure was exemplary â I didnât cuss, shriek, howl, sob, gnash, froth at the mouth, throw any clubs, break any clubs or feloniously insert any clubs. No matter how poorly I was striking the ball, I marched the course with a grim and unflinching stoicism that would have made my Norwegian forefathers proud. I behaved like a true gentleman golfer, which isnât easy when one is playing like a spavined troglodyte.â
Published conveniently in advance of Father's Day, The Downhill Lie features some laugh-out-loud anecdotes when Hiaasen dabbles in lame gimmicks to improve his game, as well as tells stories about mishaps involving turtles, toads and a sunken golf cart. His anti-development streak also puts some teeth in his description of the golf industry's excesses. Plus, he reveals an uncharacteristic sentimental streak about golfing with his late father and young son.
Hiaasen will be speaking and signing copies of his book at 7 p.m. tonight, May 12, at Cole Auditorium at Georgia Perimeter College-Clarkston Campus.