Book Review: M. O. Walsh, The Big Door Prize

The Big Door PrizeThe Big Door Prize by M.O. Walsh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Big Door Prize is a big-hearted novel. Fans of John Prine will appreciate the frequent references to his lyrics in chapter titles and scattered in dialogue and narration. Though the story is by no means derivative, Walsh’s characters could easily be pulled from a Prine song and his loose manner of story-telling is clearly an influence. The central question of the novel may be “How can one know one’s life potential?” It is an answer that a new DNAMIX machine in the local grocery story in Deerfield, Louisiana, claims to give, leading many of the townspeople to upend their lives and change directions. There is an air of magic to the town as it approaches its bicentennial celebration and an air of catastrophe as some fear the DNAMIX is giving out false hope. The town has its secrets, too, as do each of the main characters. The question remains whether this new knowledge of the future will bring them together or tear them apart.

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Published by Kendall Dunkelberg

I am a poet, translator, and professor of literature and creative writing at Mississippi University for Women, where I direct the Low-Res MFA in Creative Writing, the undergraduate concentration in creative writing, and the Eudora Welty Writers' Symposium. I have published three books of poetry, Barrier Island Suite, Time Capsules, and Landscapes and Architectures, as well as a collection of translations of the Belgian poet Paul Snoek, Hercules, Richelieu, and Nostradamus. I live in Columbus with my wife, Kim Whitehead; son, Aidan; and dog, Aleida.

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